The Jamaican Government has allocated nearly $9 billion towards the school-feeding programme for the 2023/24 fiscal year, marking a significant increase of $2 billion compared to the previous year.
The announcement was made by the Minister of Education and Youth Fayval Williams during her contribution to the 2023/24 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Wednesday (May 17).
In her address, Williams stated that Nutrition Products Limited (NPL) would continue to provide the breakfast and snack component of the school-feeding programme.
The objective for this academic year is to cater to the nutritional needs of 180,171 students, including those enrolled in Early Childhood Commission institutions and Brain Builders centres, as well as infants up to grade 3 at the primary level, primary and junior high schools up to grade 9, secondary schools, and wards of the State.
Williams emphasized that the number of feeding days throughout the academic year would remain at 190, correlating with the total number of school days.
This consistency aims to ensure that students receive meals regularly, contributing to their overall well-being and educational success.
“The funding is disbursed to the schools to provide cooked lunches for students on the basis that once meals are prepared in large quantities, the schools will reap the benefits of the economy of scale,” explained Williams.
This strategy enables schools to maximize their resources efficiently, making it possible to provide nourishing meals to a greater number of students.
Significantly, the Government has also increased the rates provided to schools at all levels participating in the school-feeding programme. This adjustment is aimed at further supporting the schools in providing nutritious meals and meeting the dietary requirements of their students.