NEBBI. Local leaders in Nebbi district have been urged to enact by-laws that will compel parents to provide mid-day meals for their children in school.

Mr Chris Magezi, an inspector in the ministry of local government said there is a need for local leaders to come up with district ordnances geared towards propelling parents to provide mid-day meals for their children in schools.

“Local Governments are empowered by the law to enact by-laws. So let the district councillors and sub-county councillors come up with ordinances and by-laws on the compulsory provision of mid-day meals for children in schools,” Magezi advised during a meeting at Nebbi district headquarters on Wednesday.

He said it is the parents’ mandate to feed their children in school because the government cannot take up the burden apart from paying teachers, buying textbooks and paying part of the children’s fees through the universal primary and secondary education.

Mr Morris Kwach, the Nebbi district secretary for social services said the issue of school feeding is serious because most parents have neglected the responsibility yet it is prime when it comes to the performance of children in school.

“The problem is that we have not realized the benefit of education and that is why we shy away from our responsibilities,” Kwach said.

He, however, observed that there is a need to enact a by-law on compulsory mid-day meals in schools, saying the move will help in improving performance in the district.

Kwach said the by-law should clearly stipulate the mode of punishment for parents who will fail to provide food for their children in school.

Similarly, Mr Patrick Kumakech, the deputy headteacher of Nebbi primary school said enacting a by-law on mid-day meals in schools is a good idea especially for parents whose children come from far distances.

“It is not easy to teach children who are hungry most especially those who come from far and spend the whole day in school without eating. How would you expect such children to be attentive in class and perform well?” he asked.

He noted that in Nebbi primary school, they have a school feeding program of which parents are expected to pay shs60, 000 per term but only 40 pupils were able to join the program because most parents were not in a position to pay the money.