Pupils are receiving food through School Nutrition Programme - DBE
The Basic Education Department said that it had revised its decision to allow more pupils back to school from next Monday because of the rising number of COVID-19 infections in the country.
The department said that only grades R, 6 and 11 would be permitted back in class following consultations with the Council of Education Ministers.
With more pupils going back to school, there are questions on whether pupils will be fed through school nutrition scheme?
Ray White on the Midday Report chats to Section 27 spokesperson Julia Chaskalson and Basic Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga to give more insight on more pupils going back to school.
Together with equal education and the equal education law centre, we have been in touch with the Department of Basic Education since the beginning of the lockdown. We saw that when the lockdown started and schools were closed, no plans were made to replace the nutrition that pupils will no longer be getting from schools.Julia Chaskalson, Spokesperson - Section 27
There were no plans to develop food parcels or food vouchers for these pupils, she says.
What we saw was that the department was making those plans and some provinces went ahead in plans to deliver food parcels to pupils eligible for the national school nutrition programme. We were in court yesterday because there are plans and funding in place, but the department is choosing not to deliver school meals to eligible pupils who need them.Julia Chaskalson, Spokesperson - Section 27
She says it is not just the pupils that benefit from the meals, families are also benefiting.
We are very curious to see what is going to happen on Monday, whether schools will receive the food when more grades return to school.Julia Chaskalson, Spokesperson - Section 27
Even though there is funding allocated for the school's nutritional programme, the department is back sliding on when pupils will be fed, she says.
We don't have clear evidence as to why it is not rolling out food. This is an exceptional programme which reaches the most vulnerable groups of children in the country.Julia Chaskalson, Spokesperson - Section 27
Mhlanga says pupils that are back in school are being fed and arrangements have been made for those who are not yet back in school.
Pupils who can't collect because the schools are too far, we have said they can collect food from a nearby school . Food was already delivered before the lockdown so there is no waiting for the food to get to school.Elijah Mhlanga, Spokesperson - Department of Basic Education
He says Section 27 filed their court papers several weeks ago and its argument has been overtaken by time.
He says schools are ready to welcome more people back on Monday.
Based on the work that we have done, to monitor and evaluate the state of readiness of the different provinces, it was decided that the system wouldn't be able to receive such a number of pupils. That is why we decided to slow down the return of the pupils. The minister will announce other dates in the next two days.Elijah Mhlanga, Spokesperson - Department of Basic Education
Listen below to the full conversation:
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