Addressing Food Insecurity Could Improve Children’s Ability To Learn In India

The Conversation: India: widespread food insecurity may be damaging children’s ability to learn — and the future economy
Jasmine Fledderjohann, lecturer at Lancaster University; Elisabetta Aurino, lecturer at Imperial College London; Sukumar Vellakkal, assistant professor at Birla Institute of Technology and Science

“…India is in the midst of a ‘learning crisis,’ with improvements in learning lagging behind increases in [school] enrollment. … India also has one of the highest rates of child undernutrition and household food insecurity … Addressing food insecurity may be an important part of resolving India’s learning crisis. It may also contribute to achieving some of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. Goal #2 aims to end hunger and achieve food security. … [M]eeting this goal may have ripple effects by reducing inequalities (goal #10) and ensuring inclusive, quality education for all (goal #4). … [E]arly intervention to prevent food insecurity is important to ensure that children are not disadvantaged while learning foundational skills. Scaling up early childhood feeding programs may be useful for targeting early food insecurity. Offering free remedial learning classes for children who experience food insecurity may also enable them to catch up with peers. Finally, where social protection is inadequate to prevent children from working, providing safe, well-paid employment opportunities over school breaks may help children to work without missing learning opportunities” (4/17).