Students to get free breakfast for 4 months at 500 schools in underprivileged areas
Pupils of 500 primary schools in underprivileged neighborhoods will get a free breakfast at school until the end of January. Ministers Carola Schouten of Poverty Policy and Dennis Wiersma want to prevent kids from attending school on an empty stomach because their parents are short on cash due to inflation and high energy prices.
The measure will apply for the next four months. The Ministers want to bridge the gap until January 1, when the government’s package to boost purchasing power takes effect. The measures include a significant increase in the minimum wage, allowances for rent and healthcare, and the child-linked budget.
The Cabinet is pushing 5 million euros into this bridging measure focused on schools with more than half of their pupils coming from low-income families.
“Children who grow up in families that are having a hard time financially must not become the victims of this. We must not accept that they start the school day with an empty stomach. That is why we are now focusing more quickly on aid at schools where the need is high,” Schouten said.
“We must do everything necessary to ensure that children who are having difficulties at home can learn carefree at school,” Wiersma added.
The Netherlands has about 1,800 schools where more than half of the pupils live in low-income households. Schouten and Wiersma are working on plans to help more of them by working with the Child Poverty Alliance. In the meantime, they hope local initiatives will help fight hunger among school pupils.
The Ministers are also working on a program for free lunch at school, but it is not yet clear when this initiative will start.