Pupils Speak Out: It’s not only pupils at no-fee schools that need feeding schemes

The article you are about to read is part of a weekly series of comment pieces written by pupils about the problems they encounter in their schools. The series offers pupils a chance to be part of the debate about South Africa’s education system.

For some pupils from underprivileged backgrounds, the meals they get from the school’s feeding scheme is the only food they will have for the day.

We are pupils at a school in central Johannesburg. Another pupil who benefits from the feeding scheme told us: “Food from the scheme is not bad, but it is not always available.”

He says that even though the quality of the food is low, it is better than nothing.

Some children go to school hungry and cannot afford to buy from the tuck shop because they do not get money from their homes. For others, all that they get is R5, which doesn’t buy much except unhealthy foods and snacks like vetkoek, mostly sold at the tuck shop. The only healthy options are apples and bananas.

Children should have healthy food. The feeding scheme at our school provides each person with four slices of bread with either jam or butter. Pupils feel that this is not good enough because bread is not a meal and the menu does not change.

Rice or pap served with vegetables once or twice a week would not be a bad idea.

Vegetable gardens in the school yard would help with the supply of healthy food and equip pupils with skills to feed themselves and to take care of the environment. Most pupils who depend on the feeding scheme are from poor backgrounds, which makes these skills essential.

Another pupil at the school says the food often runs out for about a week or more, meaning they have to learn on hungry stomachs. They say it is hard to function when they are hungry because they feel drained and tired, especially in summer or on hot days.

It is mostly no-fee public schools that receive food supplies from the government, as opposed to the fee-paying schools that depend on sponsorships from companies or organisations to feed pupils.

Children say that there is inequality between these schools and no-fee schools. They feel that the government tends to forget that some pupils in fee-paying schools are also from poor backgrounds. The school might even close down its feeding scheme because of a lack of funds.

Government intervention is necessary to ensure that all children, including those in fee-paying schools, do not go hungry.

The pupils who wrote this article are participants in Media Monitoring Africa Children’s News Agency project. This nonprofit media watchdog organisation, based in Johannesburg, aims to enhance the participation of children in mainstream media by providing them with the skills necessary to report on problems that children face. 

The agency works with pupils between the ages of 14 and 17 who attend an inner-city public school in Johannesburg and are mostly from ­underprivileged backgrounds. The project ­participants identify problems they face in and out of school, ­interview other children affected by the same ­problems, then write comment pieces about what they discover

Advertisting

Inquest into Neil Aggett’s death begins

The trade unionist was found hanged in his cell at the John Vorster Square police station in 1982

SANDF colonel accused of swindling colleagues in UN business scam

A senior soldier who is part of South Africa’s peacekeeping missions is accused by her colleagues of swindling them out of of hundreds of thousands of rands in a nonexistent business deal

Mass store and job cuts at Massmart

Changed market conditions and an appalling economy has hit low end cash-and-carry outlets

Courts to guide land expropriation

Two bits of law need to be approved before a court can decide if land owners will be compensated
Advertising

Press Releases

New-style star accretion bursts dazzle astronomers

Associate Professor James O Chibueze and Dr SP van den Heever are part of an international team of astronomers studying the G358-MM1 high-mass protostar.

2020 risk outlook: Use GRC to build resilience

GRC activities can be used profitably to develop an integrated risk picture and response, says ContinuitySA.

MTN voted best mobile network

An independent report found MTN to be the best mobile network in SA in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Is your tertiary institution is accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

Is your tertiary institution accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

VUT chancellor, Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi, dies

The university conferred the degree of Doctor of Science Honoris Causa on Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi for his outstanding leadership contributions to maths and science education development.

Innovate4AMR now in second year

SA's Team pill-Alert aims to tackle antimicrobial resistance by implementing their strategic intervention that ensures patients comply with treatment.

Medical students present solution in Geneva

Kapil Narain and Mohamed Hoosen Suleman were selected to present their strategic intervention to tackle antimicrobial resistance to an international panel of experts.