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Media Release

6 March, 2007

NSNP feeds 200 000 W Cape learners

Statement by Cameron Dugmore, MEC for Education in the Western Cape

More than 200,000 learners in 991 poor schools benefit from the Government's now renamed National School Nutrition Programme, at a cost of almost R50 million.

Western Cape Education MEC Cameron Dugmore told the Provincial Legislature during an interpellation today that the programme catered only for primary schools, but has since been restructured to include high schools.

The following are details on the questions and responses for the interpellation:

Mr Z C Stali to ask Mr C M Dugmore, Minister of Education:

(a) What is the correct procedure to guide schools in relation to feeding schemes and (b) what happens when an allocation does not cover the entire school?

Answer:

The MINISTER OF EDUCATION

1. (a) Madam Speaker, first of all, let me use this opportunity to update the Members and the House on the current status of the feeding scheme.

The school-feeding scheme was originally administered by the Department of Health, but since April 2004 it has become the responsibility of the Western Cape Education Department.

The feeding scheme was called the Primary School Nutrition Programme (PSNP) and, as the name indicate, catered only for primary school learners. But, as all of us are aware, when learners progress to high schools, they are confronted by the same conditions of poverty and hunger. Therefore we have taken a decision to rename it the National School Nutrition Programme, to accommodate both primary and high school learners in quintiles one and two.

The annual budget for the current financial year (2006/07) is R48,313 million, and will increase in the next financial year to R50,729 million. Currently 203,535 learners at 991 schools are benefiting from the programme.

Honourable Members, the National School Nutrition Programme presents us with some challenges. We have too few staff members to deal with monitoring at EMDCs. Many schools were not designed to have food preparation areas causing these schools to encounter difficulties with the storage of food products and equipment; and finding suitable areas where food can be prepared.

Theft of equipment, for example stoves, pots and other utensils, could become a threat to the continued supply of warm meals, as the Conditional Grant that we receive from National Government will not be able to sustain the costs of replacement of equipment.

We have already supplied 95 schools with good standard pre-fabricated mobile units with safety gates and mesh covers over the windows - many schools electrified these units. But my appeal to Members of this House, is to visit the schools in your constituency, and assist weak schools with putting in place additional safety measures, to ensure that no child go hungry because of theft of equipment.

All schools that have the structural means are currently preparing warm meals as part of their menu options.

Volunteers at more than 90% of targeted schools received training in food and gas safety. Kitchen equipment, including three burner gas stoves on frames, pots, etc., has been provided to all targeted schools.

With regards to the continuation of the programme, the bid tender process is currently at a stage where the bid committee needs to decide upon new Service Providers to become effective as from 1 April 2007 for a two-year period.

Schools who wish to apply to become of the National School Nutrition Programme, can do so by contacting coordinators at each Education Management and Development Centres (ie district office), who will provide them with the necessary assistance.

(b) Where there is a need to feed more learners than currently targeted in quintile one and two schools, the schools should contact and report the matter to the National School Nutrition Programme Coordinator at their local Education Management and Development Centre, whereupon more learners will be considered for feeding within budgetary constraints and in line with the targeting strategy of the programme.

For enquiries, contact Gert Witbooi:  082 550 3938, or gwitbooi@pgwc.gov.za.


Issued by:
Gert Witbooi
Media Liaison Officer
Office of the MEC for Education
Western Cape
Tel: 021 467 2523
Fax: 021 425 5689

Visit our website: http://wced.wcape.gov.za

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