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School Feeding Programme expanded to cover 200,000 vulnerable students -- Education Minister

Sunday, August 31, 2014 | 11:28 AM    

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KINGSTON, Jamaica -- In the new school year approximately 200,000 students in the early childhood age group will receive breakfast and lunch free or at subsidised price under government’s revamped school feeding programme, Education Minister Ronald Thwaites says.

Thwaites, is expected to announce this and other developments in a national back-to-school broadcast later today in preparation for the start of the new school year tomorrow, September 1.

The decision to expand the school feeding programme to cover all PATH beneficiaries and other vulnerable children follows research undertaken by the Ministry of Education last year which revealed that a significant number of Early Childhood students arrived at school hungry, the ministry said in a statement.

“Under the reorganised school feeding programme some schools will serve pre-packaged meals prepared by Nutrition Products Limited using domestic agricultural produce. Other schools will prepare meals locally in accordance with the Ministry’s nutritional guidelines. Except for the provision of rice by the Ministry of Education, schools will be given a nutrition subsidy to procure agricultural produce and other commodities from local suppliers,” the statement added.

The preparation of the meals will aim at increasing the children’s consumption of vegetables and fruits, according to Helen Robertson, director of the School Feeding Unit in the Ministry.

She advised parents not to pack lunch for students who are on the school feeding programme, and to avoid providing young children with unhealthy snacks. “Instead, parents should put a fruit, a drink and water in their child’s lunch pan,” said Robertson.

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