Mid day meals

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ಕನ್ನಡದಲ್ಲಿ ನೋಡಿ


The Mid-Day Meal Scheme (MDMS) is the world’s largest feeding program and was launched by India’s central government in August 1995 with the lofty goals of “enhancing enrollment, retention, and attendance while simultaneously improving nutritional levels among children.” In a landmark order dated 28 November 2001, the Supreme Court of India directed all state governments to introduce cooked mid-day meals in primary schools within six months. MMS (or MDMS or MDM) has become a key program for the government, now serving about 105 million primary and upper-primary schoolchildren in 1.2 million schools.[2] When implemented properly, MDMS has had a noticeable positive impact on student attendance and enrollment, alongside a reduction in teacher absenteeism.


Concept Map


Reference books

Useful websites

  1. Government of India portal on MMS, which has detailed information about working of the MMS. This includes a document with Frequently Asked Questions on MMS
  2. Wikipedia page on MMS
  3. Right to Food site

Learning Outlines

The MMS programme is the largest feeding programme in the world! From an ELM point of view, there is enormous learning possibilities from studying the design and implementation of the programme.

The programme involves many actors, ranging from the children who are the beneficiaries, to the cooks who produce the food, to the teachers/head teachers who facilitate the programme on a daily basis. The programme has a huge logistical component, including the massive movement of foodgrains from FCI godowns to schools across the country, the provision of fuel (cooking gas in most places), the additional and critical (from a nutrition point of view) items such as vegetables, fruits, eggs etc. This requires a large set of people administering the programme regularly and also supervising the implementation.

The ELM processes too can be studied elaborately for the MMS programme. Understanding the vision of the programme, its design and implementation, and the gaps between these can help education leaders at all levels to reflect, review and revise the programme.

Key Idea # 1 Why MMS? Objectives of MMS

Free and compulsory education up to the age of 14 years is the constitutional commitment. It is estimated that about 40% of children drop out of primary school. National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau (NNMB) surveys (2000) indicate that about 70% of these children are undernourished and there is about 30% deficit in energy consumption and over 75% of the children have dietary micronutrient deficit of about 50%. Poor enrollment and high school dropout rate are attributed to the poor nutritional status of the children compounded by poor socio-economic conditions, child labour and lack of motivation. Nutrition support to primary education is considered as a means to achieve the objective of providing free and compulsory universal primary education of satisfactory quality to all the children below the age of 14 years by giving a boost to universalisation of primary education through increased enrollment, improved school attendance and retention and promoting nutritional status of primary school children simultaneously. With children from all castes and communities eating together, it is also a means of bringing about better social integration.

Learning objectives

  1. Understanding the vision of the programme
  2. Understanding the goals/aims
  3. Understanding the programme design vis-a-vis the vision/aims
  4. Understanding the programme implementation vis-a-vis the design

Notes for transaction/training


Activity No #1 mid day meals structures identifying actors in the MMS

Activity No #2 mid day meals processes identifying and studying the ELM processes in the MMS

Key Idea # 2 Quality of MMS

Learning objectives

  1. Role of quality of the processes
  2. Role of quality of the food
  3. Hygiene aspect
  4. Quality of the social processes connected to the MMS in the school

Notes for transaction/training

TBD ===Activity No # 1 mid day meals quality enhancing nutrition

Activity No # 2

Key Idea # 3 Challenges

  1. Issues of inclusion / exclusion
  2. Financing the MMS - implications for quality
  3. Social inclusion goals
  4. Nutrition and food quality

Learning objectives

Notes for transaction/training

Activity No # 1mid day meals challenges quality of processes and food cooked

Activity No #


Many studies have been carried out on MMS, including

  1. Karnataka study on Akshara Dasoha, by Policy Planning Unit
  2. A desk review of the Mid-Day Meals Programme, July 2007
  3. AN EVALUATION OF MID DAY MEAL SCHEME - IIM Ahmedabad faculty, focusing on the quality of nutrition]
  4. National Programme of Nutritional Support in Government Primary and Upper Primary Schools, Best practices from Jharkhand

Articles and Papers

Prof Jean Dreze has written extensively on the MMS design and implementation in various states and the benefits and shortcomings

  1. Mid-Day Meals and Children’s Rights
  3. “Mid-Day Meals in Primary Schools: Achievements and Challenges”, Economic and Political Weekly, 18 November, 2006. Perspectives.

Prof Reetika Khera has written extensively on the MMS design and implementation in various states and the benefits and shortcomings

  1. Mid-Day Meals in Primary Schools Achievements and Challenges - REETIKA KHERA
  1. Mid-day meal programmes in schools in India-The way forward, discusses status and actions required.

Case studies

Community involvement

  1. Scheme provisions for community engagement
  2. “A Place for the Grassroots”: Examining the Role of Community Participation and Local Governance in Providing Mid-Day Meals in Lucknow District, Uttar Pradesh

One minute film on community involvement

Kitchen gardens

Food poisoning

Going beyond mid day meals


Supplying breakfast


Ksheera Bhagyya


MHRD provision for Folic acid, Iron tablets, De-worming

Project idea

Community project idea

In many places, the community contributes to the MMS by providing vegetables and fruits (local produce). In many cases, schools have developed 'kitchen gardens' to grow fruits and vegetables to add to the nutritional value of the meals.

How to use this material in a ELM workshop

How to use this material in a ELM course