Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training, Shafqat Mahmood launched the ‘School Meal Program’ to combat hunger and malnutrition among young students of the federal capital.

The launch ceremony was attended by Vice-Chancellor Quaid-e-Azam University, Dr. Muhammad Ali Shah, Secretary Inter Board Committee of Chairmen (IBCC), Dr. Ghulam Ali Mallah, and Director-General (DG) Federal Directorate of Education (FDE), Dr. Ikram Ali Malik.

Under the initiative, the government will provide free mid-day meals to 25,000 students across 100 public schools on a daily basis with the support of Allah Wallay Trust. Speaking at the occasion, Shafqat Mahmood thanked the private trust for helping the government combat malnutrition. He said that the free meal service will be expanded to all public schools across the capital in the coming months. Mahmood noted that poverty is one of the many reasons which prevent children from going to school. He said that the School Meal Program had increased attendance and admissions levels in Punjab besides improving students’ health and hoped that the program would yield similar results in Islamabad. The minister vowed to expand the program countrywide but rued a lack of budget.

“I had a meeting with the Director of UNICEF, and I wish to take this program at country level, but there are problems due to lack of budget,” he said.