Dry noodles for lunch puts spotlight on nutritional value of school lunches

The Fiji Teachers Union (FTU) claims students at schools along the Coral Coast are eating dry noodles for lunch.

Speaking to this newspaper last week, FTU general secretary Agni Deo Singh raised concerns about the nutritional value of school lunches.

“Some students are bringing packets of noodles and eating that for lunch, the lunches are not nutritious and we are concerned about that,” he said.

Mr Singh said he personally visited a few schools along the Coral Coast last month (July 24) and would visit other schools.

“There are so many students who are really affected because both parents are not working due to this pandemic.

“We know from our own feedback that some small community-run schools are mostly affected by COVID-19 and that is shown by the lunches provided to students every day.

“We are concerned as well with the physical and mental condition of parents and children and their ability to cope with the demands of schoolwork.

“The FTU is concerned with social problems that could come out of this frustration when parents struggle to provide for their children especially when they are unemployed.”

Mr Singh said the FTU was also disappointed with the Ministry of Education not making a specific allocation in the national budget to ensure school lunches were provided to children who were affected by COVID-19.

He said the FTU was also unhappy with the huge reduction in the Education Ministry’s budget allocation, claiming this would impact the grants given to schools.

“From $800 million last year to $467.7m for this year’s budget, so we are disappointed with this,” Mr Singh said.

He also mentioned that about $35,000 will be given by FTU to assist students who are facing problems such as school lunches and other school needs so these students stay in school and finish their education.