Western Cape Government Further Expands Access to Meals at Schools
This morning I visited Academia PS in Eerste River to join learners for their breakfast meal, which is now being served as a secondary meal on the Western Cape school feeding scheme.
In my recent budget speech I announced that this year, following a pilot last year, all feeding scheme schools will begin serving breakfasts to learners, as well as the lunches they already receive.
It is a sad reality that many of our learners rely on a meal at school as their only meal of the day.
The Western Cape Government is committed to ensuring that our poorer learners of this Province receive a nutritious meal every day. That is why our successful school nutrition programme has expanded year on year to assist more of our hungry learners.
Currently, over 430 000 learners in 1 022 schools in the Western Cape receive a lunch meal every day. This includes all Quintile 1-3 schools and 311 Quintile 4 and 5 schools serving learners in poorer communities.
In 2009, 334 287 learners were part of the school feeding scheme. Therefore, in the last few years, the scheme has expanded to include nearly 100 000 more learners. The funding for school feeding has also expanded significantly, with allocations to the feeding scheme having more than doubled since 2009/2010, increasing progressively from R112 million to R260 million in 2013/2014.
The increased budget does not only allow for the additional learners but also provides for a more nutritious meal being served to our learners, placing specific emphasis on healthy foods.
The nutrition value of the meals has increased since 2011 with the inclusion of fresh fruit and vegetables, tinned fish and lentils. It also provides for cooked, hot meals being served five days a week.
2 828 volunteers assist our schools in preparing and serving the food.
This year, the WCED is expanding the scheme even further to include an additional breakfast meal.
This morning I helped serve porridge to learners at Academia PS and had an opportunity to join learners for their breakfast as well, which was very tasty.
Learners will begin to receive their breakfast meal served five days a week before the start of school each day.
This will not only provide more nutrition for our learners but will encourage our learners to arrive early for school.