Equal Education fears that the department’s use of the rotational school timetable has made many learners miss out on nutritional meals. The organisation said it conducted a survey on learners who are members of Equal Education, also referred to as “Equalisers”.
“Survey of Equalisers shows that most learners who are only in classrooms on certain days are not getting food for when they are at home, as DBE reports show that nearly two million learners are still not receiving school meals”
The survey was conducted across five provinces which include: Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and the Western Cape.
It showed that 76% of the learners who took part in the survey (96 out of 125) were attending school according to a rotational timetable. This timetable meant some learners were not getting meals.
“Of the Equalisers who said they are only attending school on some days, 69 (71%) said they didn’t get a meal on the days when not at school. About 98 of 125 Equalisers said their school does not provide transport for pupils who stay far away and need to collect food from school,” Equal Education said.
Equal Education wrote to the Minister of Basic Education and other Education MECs to discuss problems that they found in the report.
The organisation said most provinces have failed to provide meals to learners and many of the reports about the school nutrition programme lacked consistency.
The survey showed a need for a reliable mode of transport for learners to collect meals. Another problem that Equal Education highlighted was the fact that the Free State never submitted a progress report.
The organisation believes that the department should take responsibility to communicate with schools, learners and families about the safety measures put in place and the times to collect meals at school.
“The Education Department must fully and urgently apply themselves to ensuring that the right of pupils to basic nutrition is upheld – anything less is unacceptable, when the consequences are so devastating for pupils and their families.”
The more you understand yourself, the more silence there is, the healthier you are. —Maxime Lagacé