Children before and after the child is in

Children  are 
considered  the  greatest 
national  resource  of 
any  country  who 
will  build  the future of the Nation. Schooling is an
instrument of individual and social change, increasing the probabilities of
general well-being. Primary education is a vital stage in the development of
the consciousness and personality of the child as it is at this juncture that a
whole new world of bright ideas and knowledge open up in front of their eyes. Nutrition
is an endogenous factor that affects the learning ability and skills before and
after the child is in school. The 
relationship  between  nutrition, 
health  and  educational 
achievement  of  school-age population in less-developed
countries has been of  interest to  many researchers due to  the frequent observation that many children
did not complete primary education and those who completed, did  not perform 
well as children in the  developed
countries (1).

Malnutrition remains one of the major
obstacles to human well-being and economic prosperity in developing countries.
The most recent report from Save the Children stated that adults who were
malnourished as children earn twenty percent less in academic performance, on
average, than those who were not. Findings revealed that malnutrition affects
physical growth, cognitive development and it consequently impacts on academic
performance, health and survival of learners. Children should not be exposed to
malnutrition even at an early age for it has detrimental effects to their
academic performance and their holistic development (2).

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 There
are strong arguments that nutrition alone is not responsible for low academic
performance. So there is no resolving the social causes of malnutrition without
by the focusing on poverty alleviation and improving other socio-economic
characteristics (3).

Longitudinal studies that have followed
children from infancy throughout childhood have also consistently shown that
children who became stunted (height for age2 SD below norm values) before 2 years of age continued to show deficits in cognition and school achievement from the age of 5 years to adolescence. Children who are not adequately nourished are at risk for failing to reach their developmental potential in cognitive, motor, and socio-emotional abilities which are strongly linked to academic achievement and economic productivity (4). Improved nutritional status has a positive and direct impact on academic achievement.  When children's basic nutritional and fitness needs are met, they have the cognitive energy to learn and achieve. Researchers  showed that  healthy,  well-nourished  children  are  more  prepared  to learn, more likely to attend school and class, and able to take advantage  of  educational  opportunities (5). Academic achievement of school age children can be affected by several factors such as nutritional status, demographics, and socio-economic factors. In many poor countries where malnutrition is widespread, it is considered a problem that negatively affects the ability of children to learn and causes them to perform at a lower level in school (6). Education underpins an individual's later life health and well-being. Conversely academic failure and school dropout are some of the clearest antecedents of later adult social, emotional, and physical health problems. Academic difficulties during these years, often referred to as the ''middle years'' within education circles, predict later academic failure and school dropout.(7) Nowadays, in the world of education, continuous assessment has been recognized as an integral part of everyday classroom instruction and a key tool to ensure quality learning. Accordingly, every educational institution, in Ethiopia, irrespective of its level, has been using continuous assessment as a key to determine students' learning achievement  and  identify  their  learning  difficulties  for  special  supports,  to  improve  teacher's  pedagogical practices, and to improve quality of education in general. (8). Nutrition is a fundamental pillar of human life, health, and development across the entire lifespan. Proper food and good nutrition are essential for survival, physical growth, mental development, performance and productivity, health, and well-being. Strong evidence exists that poor  feeding practices are associated with stunted growth  and delayed mental development and that there is a relationship between impaired growth status and both  poor school performance and IQ. Difference in human brain size could be relevant in explaining the differences in intelligence and academic performance although genetic and environmental factors such as socioeconomic, socio-cultural, and psychological factors could be direct or indirect co-determinants of both intelligence and school performance (9). Following the international advocacy for increased access to education in developing countries, through the Education for All (EFA) and Millennium development Goals (MDGs), countries like Ethiopia have seen increased enrolments into school and increased government policies to drive enrolment. Primary Schools in Ethiopia are divided into government and non-government schools in terms of ownership and the academic year runs from September to July. Primary Education lasts for 8 years and consists of two cycles: First Cycle Primary Schools, Grades 1–4 and Second Cycle Primary Schools, Grades 5–8 which is free and compulsory and at the end the second cycles of primary school pupils sit for Primary School Leaving Certificate Examination (PSLCE) which determines progression to secondary school. Though children enter primary school at various ages, the official primary admission age is 7 years (10). School achievement is a multi-factorial process conditioned by multiple factors which depend on the child health, nutrition and its neurocognitive development and the demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. In addition, recent studies show that among the risk factors associated with early cognitive deficits in children, malnutrition in young age, low birth weight and exposure to neurotoxins (11). 1.2. Statement of the problem Education can provide children with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in life. It is associated with increased incomes, reduced poverty and improved health. According to UNICEF 2016 report if the trends of the past 15 years continue for the next 15 years, by 2030, an estimated 167 million children, the great majority in sub-Saharan Africa, will still be living in extreme poverty, 38% of children leave primary school without learning how to read, write and do simple arithmetic. Approximately 3.6 million children under age 5 will die that year, still from mostly preventable causes and there could still be more than 60 million primary-school-aged children out of school (12) . Despite the progress that has been made by the Millennium Development Goals and the Education for All (EFA) goals,, 58 million children of primary school age (typically between 6 and 11 years) are out of school worldwide. If current trends continue, around 43% of these children—or 15 million girls and 10 million boys—will probably never set foot in a classroom and most of the 30 million out-of-school children in sub-Saharan Africa will never go to school(13). A number of studies in Latin America, Africa and the United States (US) reported that on intelligence tests, children with a history of malnutrition attained lower scores than children of similar social and economic status who were properly nourished. The  EFA  Global  Monitoring  Report states  that  more  than  a  quarter  of children below fifteen years of age in sub-Saharan Africa are underweight due to poor diet and malnutrition, making them more vulnerable to disease and less able to concentrate at school. Children who do not consume adequate amounts of key nutrients, including calcium, potassium and vitamin C may be unable to work to their full potential at school. School nutrition programs measured through the availability of school nutrition interventions has been indicated to impact school performance in Kenya, India, Egypt, Zimbabwe, and Gambia. The effect of health and nutritional problems on academic performance is not yet fully described in Ethiopia, with respect to the top agenda of quality universal education (2, 3).