Sri Lanka Government launches free meal for primary students today

Sri Lankan children playing in school

The Government will launch a nationwide programme from today (March 25) to provide free meals to all students from Grades 1 to 5.

Education Minister Dr. Susil Premajayantha said the initiative implemented at a cost of Rs. 16.6 billion will benefit over 1.6 million children across 9,134 government schools and will also encompass students at smaller schools with less than 100 students.

The Education Minister has given instructions to provide this meal between 7:30 AM and 8.30 AM before the students engage in educational activities, taking into consideration the recommendations of nutritionists.

Also, the Education Ministry will focus on maintaining a high nutritional level with regard to the meals prepared, in line with the instructions of nutritionists.

Under the theme of a healthy and active generation of children, the school meal programme implemented for the year 2024 aims to reduce nutritional problems among school students, increase students’ daily school attendance, develop good eating habits and health habits. Other organizations including the World Food Programme and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are also supporting the programme.

The Education Ministry has taken steps to increase the allocation provided for a meal from Rs. 85 to Rs. 110. The food required for this nutrition programme is provided by major local suppliers and it is also a contribution to strengthening the country’s economy through direct and indirect job creation.

Under the leadership of President Ranil Wickremesinghe and with the participation of Education Minister Dr. Susil Premajayantha, the 2024 school meal programme will begin today (March 25) at Sujatha Girls’ College in Narahenpita and concurrently, the inaugural programmes will be held at the provincial level all over the island.

(Source: Daily News – By Nirmanee Igalahewage)