400 high schools on govt's nutrition programme

Monday, April 6, 2009

Durban - Over 400 quintile one high schools in KwaZulu-Natal will soon be able to provide a hot meal to their impoverished learners due to government's nutrition programme.

A quintile is a national ranking method used by the Department of Education to measure how poor a school is, with quintile one being the poorest of all.

Speaking on Monday, KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Education Ina Cronje said the department would extend the programme to 431 quintile one high schools which were in dire need of food.

"Our ideal as the department is to provide meals for all the poor schools regardless whether it a primary or secondary school. We want all the hungry learners to be fed in our schools," said MEC Cronje.

The MEC said the department received an additional R22 million in October 2008 from the National Treasury for quintile one secondary schools that had enrolled in the programme.

"The total amount the department will be speeding for the nutrition program in the high schools is R555 million for 2009/10 financial year," said MEC Cronje.

She also stated that the department is currently providing the nutrition programme to 3 924 primary schools in the province, especially the rural schools that falls under the quintile one.

"We started at the primary schools because the children there are more vulnerable to the malnutrition," said Ms Cronje.

Through the programme, over 1 079 high school learners will be benefit from the programme, which has been extended from 174 school days to 187 school days. The aim funding permitted, the MEC said, is to feed learners for all school days.

In 1994, the Primary School Nutrition Programme (PSNP) was first implemented following the announcement by former President Nelson Mandela that a nutritional feeding scheme was needed in every primary school where such a need was established.

The PSNP was primarily designed to improve active learning capacity (ALC) by providing direct services to primary school learners to reduce hunger and to alleviate the effect of malnutrition on their ALC.