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27 November 2007

Feeding schemes: do they deliver?

The National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) is a plan that was drawn up by government to feed learners from primary and high schools.

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The National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) is a plan that was drawn up by government to feed learners from primary and high schools.

The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) feeds 203 535 learners from 988 poor schools and communities. This represents approximately 68% of the 1 452 public schools in the Western Cape alone. The number increases every year. This financial year, the WCED allocated R48 313 million. This amount will increase to R50 729 million during the next financial year.

Schools are classified into five different categories, according to the level of poverty in the community. These categories are called “quintiles”.

The poorest schools are classified as Quintile 1 and the least poor schools as Quintile 5. Meals are provided to learners of poor schools that fall into the categories Quintiles 1 and 2.

Many children from poverty-stricken families depend on this meal in order to be mentally and physically capable of coping with school work.

A timetable of their weekly menu

Untitled Document

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Rice Fortified brown bread Samp and beans Rice Fortified brown bread
Soya mince Soya mince Soya mince Peanut butter
Reconstituted dry vegetables Reconstituted dry vegetables Jam
Soy based and lactose-free nutrition drink

The reconstituted dry vegetables are mainly used in vegetable dishes, soup and stews. The vegetables have to meet strict specifications and be of high quality.

The WCED will introduce fruit on a trial basis in schools that are targeted beginning January or March 2008.

The Peninsula School Feeding Association (PSFA) in Observatory monitors and distributes the food on behalf of the Education Department. Their daily distribution to 567 schools (140 000 children) each day includes the following:

  • 140 meals
  • 1 400kg of jam
  • 2 800kg of peanut butter
  • 140 000 cups of NUTRI-A

The system has potholes. There were allegations in the past that funds were being abused and misused and that some education officials were guilty of abusing their authority.

(Tandeka Bafo, Health24, November 2007)

Sources:
-R50 million feeding scheme benefits two hundred thousand learners
-Peninsula School Feeding Association (PSFA)

 
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