30 April 2015, Thmphu: Currently Principals of 24 Central Schools are in Capital to attend the launching of Central School Programme. Taking opportunity of their presence in Thimphu, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests organised a meeting with them along with Officials of MoAF and MoE on 30 April 2015.
The meeting was organised to discuss the plans and programmes for upscaling the School Agriculture Programme for supplementing food and nutrition requirement of students in Central Schools. His Excellency the Minister for MoAF, Hon’ble Yeshey Dorji, informed the participants that, upon the instructions of the Cabinet, the Ministry would like to strengthen and support the School Agriculture activities in Central Schools to supplement nutritious food to school children.
CoRRB presented a brief status of SAP and proposal of establishing poultry in Central Schools. SAP started formally in the year 2000 with 6 piloted schools and currently there are 250 schools taking part in the SAP with 45% coverage. Among the 24 Central Schools identified, 21 schools already have SAP activities, while 3 new schools will be encouraged to make proposals. Activities, such as vegetable gardening, mushroom production, dairy and piggery; poultry programme for eggs production to implement 3 eggs per child per week is emphasized.
Some of the feedback from the participants on the limitation of gardening area and continuity of the programme were highlighted. In response, H.E Lyonpo also informed that leasing of government land or using fallow land available with some of the RNR Centres are options. While some schools with larger land holdings can opt for organised plantation of trees. Technical supports on proper storage and food safety in the feeding schools can also be explored from FCB and BAFRA. Director General of DSE MoE informed the participants existing education policy to reserve minimum of 0.50 Acre per school for gardening activities.
The participants shared concerns and benefits that they have derived from the SAP for feeding and education their school children. His Excellency also concluded that agriculture related supports will be based on the proposal submitted by school based on the feasibility recommended by Dzongkhag concern sector heads. However, Central Schools can directly submit the proposal to CoRRB and MoE to curtail the processing time.
-School Agriculture Program (SAP), CoRRB
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