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Over 2 Million Learners Still Not Receiving Food From Basic Education Department, Says Equal Education

NYAKALLO TEFU

Equal Education (EE), Equal Education Law Centre (EELC) and SECTION27 say according to the latest court-ordered progress report from the Department of Basic Education (DBE), over two million learners are still not receiving food despite a high court order.

This comes after the NGOs took Basic education Department to court regarding the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) after 9.2 million learners were not fed during the lockdown.

“Most provinces have not made plans to ensure that the right of learners to basic nutrition is upheld for all, including for learners who are at home because of the rotating timetables or who are not returning to school for medical reasons,” said the NGOs in a statement.

“While the latest court-ordered progress reports are far clearer and more detailed than the reports that we received in July, SECTION27 and EELC have written to Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and the Education MECs, to highlight problems with the reports.”

Equal Education said it conducted a survey of Equalisers across five provinces in mid-September which shows that of the Equalisers who said they are only attending school on some days,  96 out of 125, or 76%, said they didn’t get a meal on the days when not at school.

“66 Equalisers (52.8%) said they know of other learners in their community who are not getting food from their schools on days when they are at home,” said Equal Education.

The NGOS said they were extremely worried that the National School Nutrition Programme is still not reaching learners on the days when they are at home, because of rotating timetables.

The NGOs also said most provinces have not made plans to ensure that the right of learners to basic nutrition was upheld for all. 

The NGOs added that about 98 out of 125 Equalisers said their school did not provide transport for learners who stay far and need to collect food from school.

Some of the findings of the survey of Equalisers, per province: 

  • Eastern Cape: Of the six Equalisers who said they are only in the classroom on some days, five don’t receive a meal on the days when not at school (83%). All nine Equalisers who participated in the survey said their school does not provide transport for learners to collect food at school.
  • Gauteng: 47 out of 62 Equalisers (75%) only attend school on some days, and 31 of these 47 Equalisers (75%) do not receive a meal on the days when not at school. 
  • KwaZulu-Natal: Nine out of 11 Equalisers are only attending school on some days, and said they do not receive a meal on days when not at school (81%). Some learners said there isn’t scholar transport to collect meals.
  • Limpopo: 13 out of the 15 Equalisers who participated in the survey are only attending school on some days. Of the 13, four (30%) said they don’t receive a meal on the days when not at school and nine collect a meal at school on the days when home. Six of the 15 Equalisers (40%) know of other learners in their communities who are not getting food from their schools on days when they are at home. 
  • Western Cape: 20 out of the 28 Equalisers are only attending school on some days, and 19 out of 20 (95%) do not receive a meal on days they don’t have to be at school. Eight of the 28 Equalisers (28%) know of learners in their communities who are not getting food from their schools on days when they are at home.

(COMPILED BY INSIDE EDUCATION STAFF)

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