Coronavirus: Providing mid-day meals to students at home is difficult for teachers

Coronavirus: Providing mid-day meals to students at home is difficult for teachers

Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 4

Although education department has issued instructions to provide food grains of the mid-day meal to the students at their homes and transfer the cost of cooking to their bank accounts amidst this crisis of COVID-19 and no clear roadmap for making this activity practical, it seems this will remain in papers only. 

In addition to these teachers have also become panic ongoing out amidst such a situation. 

Firstly, there are no clear instructions on how to make this activity practical, secondly, many schools in the state were already running out of stock of grains and thirdly giving the meager amount of wheat and rice only for the students in this difficult situation seems another cruel joke on the families of the students. 

According to the instructions issued by the department, each Primary student will be given 1,200 kg of wheat and the same amount of rice which totals 2.400 kg of both the grains. Similarly, the upper primary student will be given 1.800 kg of rice and wheat each, which makes the total quantity of 3.600 kg. Similarly, it was asked to transfer the booking amount of Rs 107.52 to primary students and Rs 161.04 to the upper primary students.

The food grains and amount are for 24 days i.e. from March 23, 2020, to April 15, 2020, during which schools are shut due to lockdown.

Schools are finding it difficult to make the things practical at this juncture. A principal of a primary school in Ludhiana on the condition of anonymity said that their Mid Day meal account is already running in minus, and they were arranging the food grains on credit from the local stores. 

“We do not have any stock of food grains with us and it is not possible for us to distribute the same by buying at the stores are already shut. If we manage to buy the food grains also then the problem of delivering them at the doorsteps remains a problem. Students are living in different areas and how can a teacher reach out to these students at their places. In addition to this, transferring the amount in the accounts is also as many new students do not have bank accounts. We have received no clear instructions from the district regarding the disbursal of the food grains and amount", she said.

Another teacher from Ludhiana further added that these instructions have created panic among the teachers. 

They will have to get the curfew passes for going out and since they will not be provided with any safety kit by the department, will it be safe to go outside and what if there is any patient in the family or going in the high-risk areas is another challenge in front of the teachers, she said.

Meanwhile, another teacher who went for the distribution of the ration said that during such critical times, it becomes very difficult to give a small number of food grains only for the child. “It makes very difficult for us to make the families understand that it is the food grains to be provided for the students,” he said.

DPI, Inderjit Singh when contacted in Thai regard said that the department is doing whatever help they can provide in this difficult time.

“Our many teachers are already working as sector officers, and they were helping the students with the help of NGOs and some were helping on their own. It is just that we wanted that students should get their meals on time that these orders were issued. We can provide only for the students and not for the entire family and the families should understand this. Teachers are doing a difficult job in this crisis and it should be acknowledged,” he said.

Tribune Shorts


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