Examining the implementation of school feeding program in a context of fee-free education policy to support early childhood learning: A case of two primary schools in Iringa municipality, Tanzania

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Nipael Mrutu

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Mussa Mohamed


AKU-East Africa


This study examined the implementation of school feeding program in the context of fee-free education policy to support early childhood learning. Two public primary schools were examined in terms of policy framework, source of funding, institutional capacity, design and modality of implementation and involvement of community. The study employed a qualitative research approach and a case study design which focused on an in-depth exploration of the phenomenon. The study collected research data through the use of semi-structured interviews, document analysis, and semi-structured observation. Furthermore, the interview data were recorded by using a mobile phone and handwritten in a notebook. The findings from the study implied that the existing practices in implementation of school feeding programs in public primary schools were not in harmony with suggestions from studies for a functional and sustainable SFP thus affecting the predetermined learning outcomes that would result from improved enrollment, attendance and enhanced participation in learning. This missing harmony was escalated by short of explicit directives on proper modalities of mobilizing financial resources from parents, insufficient institutional capacity in terms of infrastructure, parents’ misconceptions of fee-free education policy, inadequate parents’ sensitization on the importance of school feeding program for the benefit of their children and parents’ reluctance and unwillingness which is based on voluntary participation. The study concluded that the existing practices in the implementation of school feeding program do not consent with what studies suggest for the functional and sustainable SFP thereby failing to guarantee children of a healthy lifestyle and dietary habits that are both nutritionally and cognitively constructive. It is therefore imperative for the government through the responsible ministry to revisit the guidance on the implementation of the school feeding program and consider giving early childhood its required attention which does not only imply having a pre-school class in each public school but also equally important investing in quality early childhood services including nutrition and SFP.

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