Effect Of Feeding Programmes On Attendance Of Pre- School Children In Tharaka South, Tharaka Nithi County, Kenya

The school feeding programmes helps in providing meals at school and this promotes enrolment and attendance since children will be attracted to school because of meals. The role of school feeding program is to provide children with nutritional supplement, increasing access and establishing attendance in the targeted areas. Many children have not been able to go to school due to poverty. The purpose of the study was to find out the effect of feeding programmes in attendance, enrolment and participation of pre- school children. The study used a descriptive survey design in which out of 102 pre- schools in Tharaka South District, 12 pre-schools which were under School Feeding Programmes were sampled. Data was collected by use of a questionnaire for head teachers, an interview guide for pre-school teachers and an observation schedule. Data was analysed by the use of SPSS computer package and content analysis. The findings revealed that all the schools had school feeding programmes which had been underway for the past 5 years. School feeding programmes increased enrollment in schools. However, a low teacher ratio was the leading problem encountered due to increased enrollment. The school feeding programmes have improved attendance of pre-school children. Good performance was achieved due to pupils spending more time in school, concentrating more in class and through nutritional improvement. School feeding programmes increased participation by pre-school children. Challenges facing school feeding programmes include inability to provide quality food which is well balanced, some parents are uncooperative and do not pay while some parents do not give children food at home claiming they will eat at school. Other challenges are inability to provide food of enough quantity and increased number of children due to increased enrolment. The study recommends a committee to be established to ensure that recommendations by stakeholders to sustain the School Feeding Programmes are carried out. Schools should employ a cateress to allow head teachers and teachers to concentrate on educational issues. Further studies should be carried out on the impact of School Feeding Programmes on performance of pre-school.