The government plans to provide school meals to all students by 2030, Education Minister Susil Premajayantha said. The minister, addressing an event in Mullaitivu, said the assistance of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Government of France will be sought to strengthen the school meal programme. He said at present 1.1 million students receive a mid-day meal. The country has a student population of 4.2 million. The economic crisis led to education authorities halting school meal programmes, and families skipping meals and reducing portions. Sri Lanka’s food insecurity and child malnutrition levels continue to remain at a concerning level.
The ministry plans to encourage school attendance by promoting school meal programmes island-wide. On Tuesday, the Government of Japan provided a grant to Sri Lanka under the United Nations World Food Programme. The Japanese Government has provided 7,270 metric tons of food items to Sri Lanka, especially red lentils, which has benefited over 960,000 students, the President’s Media Division said.