NATIONAL NEWS - During an engagement with education stakeholders on Tuesday, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) confirmed that, in addition to Grade Seven and 12 learners returning to school on June 1, all children who usually qualify for the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) will also be receiving school meals or food parcels from the same date.
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In a joint statement released yesterday, Equal Education (EE), Equal Education Law Centre (EELC) and SECTION27 raised concerns around the halting of the NSNP during the national lockdown.
“We have advocated for the resumption of the NSNP through engagement with the Presidency, the DBE and Parliament,” the statement said.
Nine million children ordinarily benefit from school feeding schemes, which for some children is their only guaranteed meal for the day.
“The national lockdown has deepened food insecurity for South Africans across the country.
“This has had particularly severe implications for the well-being and development of children,” the organisations said.
Under section 28(1)(c) of the Constitution, children are guaranteed the right to basic nutrition.
According to the DBE, provincial education departments will be responsible for developing the appropriate mechanisms for collection or delivery of meals and food parcels to learners.
This is expected to include measures such as staggered collection times and social distancing protocols to ensure learner safety.
“While EE, EELC and SECTION27 welcome the DBE’s commitment, monitoring of provincial plans will be crucial to ensuring that the DBE’s commitment and constitutional obligations are fulfilled.
“We call on the DBE to make all provincial plans publicly available on the DBE’s website, and for national and provincial legislatures to maintain effective oversight,” the organisations stated.