All children in primary schools will get breakfast for free every morning starting January next year.
Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik announced the initiative on Facebook yesterday (Aug 26).
In the post, he said that the ministry believes students need healthy eating patterns and balanced meals to ensure that they are in good physical condition and able to focus on their studies
“In this connection, starting from January 2020, the ministry will launch a special free breakfast programme for children in primary schools across the country.
“The children will be provided with a good breakfast with a healthy menu.”
Dr Maszlee Malik via Facebook
The reactions to the initiative were mostly good, although some Malaysians had valid concerns and some advice for the minister.
“Such a good programme. I hope the programme will remain even when the government changes after GE15”
“I suggest that the time formal teaching in classes begin at 8am so that between 7.30am and 8am, students have time to eat breakfast in a calm and orderly atmosphere. At the same time, lessons on good values, discipline and civic-mindedness can be applied. (For example, have the kids line up to get their food, read their supplications, tidy the dining tables etc.)”
Today, Maszlee Malik posted again on Facebook addressing several issues parents and the general public might have about the initiative.
Here’s everything you need to know about the free breakfast programme.
1. The programme is aimed at feeding ALL primary school students nationwide.
That includes all SRJK(C) and SRJK(T) schools as well. In total, an estimated 2.7 million children will be fed under the programme.
2. Preschool and secondary school students aren’t included in the programme.
Preschooled children cannot be included in this programme as food served in preschools involve different procurement procedures.
3. The initiative will be managed through the existing Rancangan Makanan Tambahan (RMT) programme.
And the food will be prepared by the canteen operators at each participating school.
4. The programme has been proposed to take place during both morning and afternoon sessions.
During the morning session, food will be available for students between 7am and 8.30am. Meanwhile, for the afternoon session, food will be served between 12pm and 4pm.
5. The ministry is still calculating the appropriate cost per head.
They are still figuring out how much they’ll need to ensure each student can enjoy good quality meals.
6. The programmes’ menu will be decided following advice from the Health Ministry and other food and nutrition experts from local universities.
The Education ministry is also taking appropriate steps through collaboration with the Health Ministry, Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry and nutritionists from local universities to ensure a quality breakfast is provided.
7. To ensure the programme is successfully implemented, the ministry initiated a pilot project at selected schools since early August 2019.
Based on the results of the pilot project, which will end on October 2019, the ministry will take the necessary measures to ensure the free breakfast programme is successfully implemented.
8. A special committee will be established to discuss the budget required for the programme.
Funds earned from the sugar tax implemented earlier this year has been suggested to be used for this programme and the special committee will look into this possibility.
Do you think this programme is a good idea? Do you have any concerns over the programme that were not addressed above?
You can take a look at Dr Maszlee’s full Facebook post below:
Starving forensic investigator turned writer cause she couldn’t find a job. Used to search for killers now searches for killer stories.