‘Ministry does not have funds to give free lunch to students’

Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport Faiyaz Koya, Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Mereseini Vuniwaqa and Minister for Education Rosy Akbar outside Parliament. Picture: JONA KONATACI

The Education Ministry does not have funds to give free lunch to students, says Education Minister Rosy Akbar.

Ms Akbar told the Committee of Supply in Parliament on Wednesday that “without any actual study report,” the ministry would not spend money on feeding children.

National Federation Party leader Prof Biman Prasad had raised the issue, asking if the ministry would consider using money from the free education grant to serve lunch to students.

“Given the fact that there are many areas in the country, especially in the Western Division where children are being served lunch by religious organisations and others, does the ministry feel or have space within the budget that has been allocated?” Prof Prasad asked.

“Whether the ministry has any plans to allocate some funding to these organisations or through other NGOs so that children in certain areas where they are affected could be served lunch meals.”

Ms Akbar said she could not commit to this request.

“I think I have made myself very clear, without any actual study report which will indicate that children are going to school without lunches, we will not be able to commit anything,” she said.

“We do not have funding for that.”

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