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By Editorial staff

Journalist


Hungry children deserve better

The Gauteng education department prescribes a menu that includes instant maize meal for breakfast and protein, starch with a vegetable or fruit for the main meal.


The thought of going to bed hungry is too horrible to even think about. Yet, for thousands of school children it is the reality they face daily. Millions of pupils across the country depend on the national school nutrition programme – a project whereby government provides one nutritious meal to all pupils in poorer primary and secondary schools in the attempt to improve their ability to learn. The Gauteng education department prescribes a menu that includes instant maize meal for breakfast and protein, starch with a vegetable or fruit for the main meal. However, Covid-19 has put a massive spanner…

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The thought of going to bed hungry is too horrible to even think about. Yet, for thousands of school children it is the reality they face daily.

Millions of pupils across the country depend on the national school nutrition programme – a project whereby government provides one nutritious meal to all pupils in poorer primary and secondary schools in the attempt to improve their ability to learn.

The Gauteng education department prescribes a menu that includes instant maize meal for breakfast and protein, starch with a vegetable or fruit for the main meal.

However, Covid-19 has put a massive spanner in the works, with many children not able to get what could possibly be their only meal of the day due to schools implementing a rotation system.

Schools have been urged to provide meals for pupils on the days they are not being taught, but it’s easier said than done because the concerning fact is that children aren’t at school every day to collect their meal. And getting to school on these “off days” is not always possible due to transport costs.

What’s worse is that, according to the National Income Dynamics Study Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey this month, 45% of adults living with children indicated their household had run out of money for food.

That’s almost one out of two adults not being able to put food on the table for the families. Julia Chaskalson of nongovernmental organisation Section27 said: “The National School Nutrition Programme has never reached its full capacity of over 9.6 million pupils in the country since SA went into lockdown. The numbers vary but, recently, we’ve seen that more than 1.5 million pupils are not receiving the meals they are entitled to.”

While there are plenty of heroes making sure our children are fed, we must find other ways to continue doing so. We need the public and private sectors to get involved. Our children deserve better.

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