The Division of Education has instructed caterers who provide meals to secondary school students under the School Feeding programme to reduce the number of lunches to for secondary schools with immediate effect, Minority Councillor Faith BYisrael said on Tuesday.
Speaking at the weekly media briefing of the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) on Tuesday, BYisrael said several teachers were expressing concern about the changes.
Yisrael said teachers were also told students in the Fifth and Sixth Forms will no long receive lunches and there will be a reduction of lunches for First to Fourth Form students.
“We understand this was something that was done without prior notice to the family of the students who take these lunches. I asked the people who called me, was it because of significant wastage of the food, and they said since there was a change of the menu the students have been eating the food because the quality have improved,” she said.
She said at Bishops High School, lunches have been reduced from 400 to 300.
She said while it is understood that this may be a cost cutting measure by the THA, an assessment should have been done to determine how the students would be affected by this reduction. “We now have a situation where parents would be forced to provide lunches for their children when they did not get the chance to prepare to budget for it given this guava season. The Division of Education needs to be very clear and careful when they make these kinds of cuts because this is social support that is necessary for our children to learn,” she advised.
One caterer who provides lunches to two primary schools and one secondary school on the west of the island, told Newsday Tobago, she was was instructed last week, to reduce the numbers of meals provided during the exam period.
The supplier said they were not instructed to reduce the number of lunches for First to Fourth Formers but to only supply the recommended amount of lunches when Fifth Formers would be at school to write examinations.