Published: 09th December 2021
Karnataka's Education Department to study the impact of eggs in mid-day meals with help from UNICEF et al
As many as 9000 students will be studied — one set from 30 schools in Yadgir and another set of students from 30 schools in another district where eggs are not introduced in midday meals
Are food patterns at home changing with eggs being included in mid-day meals? Are students attending school more regularly because of increased food options?
Close on the heels of having introduced eggs into the mid-day meal in a few districts, Karnataka's Education Department has joined hands with UNICEF, Tata Trusts and many other nutrition experts as well as the Karnataka State Rural Development and Panchayat Raj University, Gadag — to conduct a study that will discover how impactful the eggs in the mid-day meals scheme has been.
The baseline of this study started on Monday at Yadgir, an intervention district that will be checked against another non-intervention district. The survey will take into account three aspects — nutritional attainment, behavioural changes and administrative aspects. It will also include the study of the exit outcomes be it gains in terms of attendance, change in nutritional level, haemoglobin levels and food habits. Nalin Atul, Additional Commissioner of Public Instruction, told TNIE, "The detailed analysis will be made which can be used for future policy framework."
As many as 9,000 students will be studied — one set from 30 schools in Yadgir and another set of students from 30 schools in another district where eggs are not introduced in midday meals. The schools are selected based on the cluster-based random sampling method. Midway through the disbursal of the 46 eggs to students at the rate of 2 eggs a week for 165 days, a midline study expected in January will be held where course corrections in administration, if any, for the effective implementation of the scheme, would be made, said sources.
The study will include tracking the height, weight, nutritional status of students, questionnaires to schools and focus group discussion with parents.This comes in the backdrop of demand for increasing beneficiaries for egg in meal scheme to include class 9 and 10 students in Kalyana Karnataka region, and also reports of opposition to the scheme of providing eggs in schools.
The eggs in mid-day meal scheme are completely funded by the central government's flexi fund. The Rs 23 lakh expenditure for the study is likely to be absorbed by the existing funds with the department, or through interdepartmental coordination by approaching the RDPR department. The study may end in May, however, the timeline is still to be decided. The midline survey to be held at the end of January will accommodate the changes in schedules.
Atul said, "There is already a demand for eggs to be given to Class 9 and 10 students in Kalyana Karnataka region where the government is providing eggs up to Class 8. Additionally, a planning stage survey revealed that more than 80 per cent of the students were keen on eggs in meals. When we go to classrooms, we have seen a lot of excitement among children."