Bhubaneswar: In a much needed respite for teachers, the government of Odisha has decided to release them from the responsibility of mid-day meal (MDM) management and engage women self help groups (WSHGs) instead.
As per reports, initially, MDM programme in the schools with strength of 100 students or above would be managed by WSHGs. The reform would then be gradually extended to all the schools in the state. Mission Shakti and the School and Mass Education Department have jointly decided to hand over the management of MDM to women self-help groups.
As per the new guidelines released, the existing transport contractor under MDM programme shall handover the MDM rice to the WSHGs. The storage, custody, safety of the rice stock would be the responsibility of the WSHGs, who shall procure other ingredients locally, get the MDM hygienically prepared by the cook-cum-helper and hand over the cooked meal to the headmaster.
The guidelines further stated that the WSHG would maintain attendance cum MDM service register and return empty gunny bags to the headmaster on a monthly basis.
The money for the MDM would be directly disbursed to the WSHGs through the District Education Officer (DEO). Members of the concerned WSHGs and the headmaster of the school would remain present at the time of distribution of meals.
DEOs are required to release rice one month prior based on consumption of rice stock by the WSHGs as per the monthly report on MDM.
Speaking to OTV, School and Mass Education Minister Samir Dash said, "The existing central kitchens operating in the state won't be affected. The decision has been taken to free the teachers from additional burden of MDM and make them focus only on teaching."