As South Africa prepares to go on a 21-day national lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19, the basic education department has vowed to work towards ensuring pupils continue benefiting from the school nutrition programme while at home.
This was announced by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga on Thursday, who outlined the department’s plans to support pupils during the lockdown.
Motshekga said the department’s council of education ministers met on Thursday morning to consider and evaluate plans they have been working on since schools were closed after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a national state of disaster in terms of the National Disaster Management Act.
The discussion included the provisions of a school nutrition programme during the lockdown.
She added the issue of nutrition was, however, a complex one because pupils were not at school, saying the department would therefore be working with the social development department to ensure underprivileged families would be provided with nutrition support.
“The thinking is that one member of the family will be allowed to a collect one food parcel once a week during the three weeks for the use of the entire family.”
Motshekga said this would ensure social distancing.
She added several food companies – such as Tiger Brands, Nestle, Pioneer, Old Mutual, First Rand and Add Hope Foundation – have expressed their willingness to support the initiative.
The department said it had been working since schools closed to ensure that pupils were being educated about the virus while they are at home.
Motshekga said after the announcement of the lockdown by Ramaphosa, the council of ministers had agreed to focus on catch-up programmes as part of the department’s efforts to promote learning and teaching at home.
This was also part of preparations for when schools reopened at a date that was yet to be announced, she added.