Parents concerned about school feeding program, transport to schools
Parents of students of grades 6 and form 5 have raised concerns over the unavailability of the School Feeding Program following the reopening of schools across the island last week.
They have also noted that there are issues in providing transportation for underprivileged students.
“Some children do not have transport money or a meal to eat for lunch,” one parent, who spoke on condition of anonymity expressed.
The Ministry of Education says arrangements have been made to ensure that the School Feeding Program is not affected following the reopening of school on June 3, 2020.
The school feeding program forms part of Saint Lucia’s response to the “Zero Hunger Challenge” issued by the Secretary-General of the United Nations where underprivileged students are fed on subsidized breakfasts and lunches served at schools.
The same applies to the transportation program.
“The Ministry did not put everything in place to help those underprivileged children because some of them have no food and no means of transportation to get to school,” another parent declared.
According to a parent who is a member of a Parent and Teachers Association of a secondary school, the principal of the school had to drop off a student who lives in Bexon on Friday.
Opposition Senator Guibion Ferdinand has weighed in on the matter.
“If the Government has not made the necessary arrangements and provisions for students to get to school safely and as well within the school compound that they have not put things in place to ensure the students’ needs are taken care of, I would be very disappointed in that! That should not be,” Ferdinand declared.
Loop News reached out the Ministry of Education on the matter and according to the department’s Permanent Secretary Michelle Charles, arrangements are in place and the two programs will not be affected by COVID-19.
“We have, at the Ministry, made arrangements for all of the students to be given food packages and these were delivered before the reopening of school and also we were provided with the names of all of the students who would require transportation and transportation has been put in place to facilitate them coming to school,” Miss Charles explained.
The food packages, according to Miss Charles, is similar to the COVID-19 relief packages distributed by the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) earlier this year.
“It included eggs, fish or chicken, flour, rice peas, sugar, oil and a few other things. That was given to the families of the children. If there are any names that we did not get, all the parents have to do is inform the school,” Charles said.