Over 2.1 lakh government school kids in Karnataka do not get breakfast at home, said the Karnataka Evaluation Authority report. For these children, milk given in school is the first meal of the day.
The report 'Evaluation of the impact of mid-day meal schemes in Karnataka (2016-17)' which was released in January 2021 pointed out that the figure accounts for about 6.4% of the total children in government schools.
"At least 199 out of 5,158 children get only one meal a day. The midday meal is their first meal; no breakfast. When this proportion of students in this sample is magnified for the state for purposes of understanding, around 2.1 lakh children attend school without breakfast. They may get supper at home for which they have to wait for around 8 hours after the midday meal at 1 pm; no evening snacks also," said the report.
The study was commissioned to cover a period from 2016-17 to 2018-19, while the primary data was collected only in 2019-20.
The draft report was completed by early 2020. As review meetings were not held due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the report was finalised recently.
For 49% of the children- 2,527 out of 5,158, the midday meal is the second meal of the day. They get breakfast and supper at home; two meals only in a day.
The report also said that they have to wait for at least eight hours after they get a midday meal in the afternoon at school. They don't even get snacks after they return home from school.
As many kids do not have breakfast or adequate breakfast, more than a quarter of students become 'very hungry' by the mealtime.
According to the report, almost all students report that the 'milk' is effective in energizing them, motivating them to participate in sports, maintaining their enthusiasm in school, facilitating concentration and improving learning levels. The report points out the need for breakfast in schools.