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President advocates holistic education and launches national school meal programme

March 26, Colombo (LNW): President Ranil Wickremesinghe emphasised the significance of comprehensive education, endorsing a curriculum that integrates academic subjects with nutritional support for children nationwide.

He also stressed the integration of modern technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) into the educational framework, affirming the government’s commitment to reforming school education and examination systems.

These statements were made during the inauguration of the “2024 School Meal Programme” at Sujatha Balika Vidyalaya in Narahenpita, reported the President’s Media Division (PMD).

Led by the Ministry of Education, the initiative aims to provide nutritious meals to all students in grades 1-5 across the country.

Following the president’s directive, breakfast will be served between 7:30 am and 8:30 am, aligning with expert recommendations on optimal nutrition timing.

Under the theme “Healthy Active Generation,” the 2024 school meal programme seeks to address nutritional deficiencies among students, enhance daily attendance rates, instill healthy eating and lifestyle habits, elevate academic performance, and promote local culinary traditions.

This year’s programme benefits 1.6 million students from over 9,000 government schools, with a budget of Rs. 16.6 billion allocated directly to provincial councils, supplemented by sponsorship from organisations like the World Food Programme (WFP) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Local suppliers provide the necessary food, contributing to the country’s manufacturing economy by creating new jobs directly and indirectly.

The initiative is supported by a transparent financial oversight mechanism to ensure accountability and reporting for all programme aspects.

The Ministry of Education, particularly its Health and Nutrition Branch, oversees and monitors programme management activities to ensure vigilant implementation.

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