A total of 5,008 students have recorded significantly higher grades under the “K to 6 In-school Feeding Program” in Valenzuela City School Year 2014-2015, as cited in the report of the Ateneo Center for Educational Development (ACED).
In the ACED report, grades of 71.9 percent of the 6,964 beneficiaries in all 39 public elementary schools, going from first quarter to third quarter, either went from “Fail” up to “Pass” or from “Pass” up to “a higher passing” grade level.
Based on the standard of the Department of Education (DepEd), this means that students who received a grade average around 71-74 percent in the first quarter have achieved a grade average of 75-80 percent in their third quarter.
While students who got a 75-80 percent grade average during their first quarter have progressed to a range of 81-85 percent in the third quarter.
Phoebe Cruz, a DepEd coordinator at Malinta Elementary School, attributed the remarkable academic improvement of students to the feeding program, which has developed them to become more proactive and participative in class discussions.
“Dati kasi ang mga bata tamad makinig dahil gutom. Ngayon mas alerto at pala-recite na sila dahil nakakakain sila ng masustansyang pagkain galing sa city government ng Valenzuela,” Cruz said.
In order to nurture the health of incoming elementary students, the city-wide feeding program delivered meals to 8,269 kids, aged 3 to 5, in all public daycare centers of Valenzuela City last year.
For this School Year 2015-2016, city-wide feeding program on July 28 has started feeding 15,248 students, consisting of 9,011 children in 78 daycare centers and 6,327 selected Kinder to Grade 6 in all 41 public elementary schools.
“K to 6 In-School Feeding Program” is currently on its fourth year and is the first city-wide feeding in the Philippines, beginning in 2012 during the mayoral term of incumbent Valenzuela City Congressman Win Gatchalian.
To elevate the benefits of feeding program nationwide, Gatchalian filed House Bill No. 5348 or the “Nutri-Skwela Act of 2015” to ensure that at least one meal on each school day is made available free to all children enrolled in day care, kindergarten, and grades 1-6 in all public educational institutions in the country.
Under the bill, children whose daily academic program lasts for more than five hours should be eligible for two meals free of charge.
Gatchalian said based on the 2013 National Nutrition Survey (NNS), 8.6 percent of school-aged children between 5 and 19 are “wasted”, indicating that they suffer from acute malnutrition.
He cited the findings of the DepEd which showed that for the 2012-2013 academic year, 1,918,464 public school children were “wasted” or “severely wasted”.
“These statistics show that we, as a nation, have failed to satisfy the adequate nutritional needs of today’s children,” said Gatchalian, who is a member of House Committee on Basic Education and Culture.
“The basic right of a child to proper care and nutrition as provided for under our Constitution had largely gone ignored in the case of at least one million schoolchildren,” he added.
One of the provisions of the “Nutri-Eskwela Act” is the expansion of National Nutrition Council, which shall be responsible for the overall formation, implementation, and evaluation of the program.
A key element of the program is to empower local government units to actively participate in the program through the City and Municipal Nutrition Committees, otherwise known as Local Committees, which shall be mainly responsible for the procurement of food, and logistical and organizational concerns of theprogram. (Tim Alcantara)