Remisova: Fico’s Proposal of Free Lunches for Schoolchildren Ill-advised

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Opposition OLaNO MP Veronika Remisova (stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, September 4 (TASR) – Smer chairman Robert Fico’s proposal to introduce free-of-charge lunches for all final-year nursery and primary school children is ill-advised, as there are still a large number of schools in Slovakia without canteens and the motion also falls short in addressing food quality, said MP Veronika Remisova (Ordinary People/OLaNO) on Tuesday.

“More than 15 percent of children are obese already, but the state allocates extremely small contributions for lunches, around one euro. It’s quite challenging to cook healthy and quality lunches with plenty of fruit and vegetables for children and youth with that sum. Although parents will no longer have to make additional payments for lunches, they would lose any and all control over the quality of the meals,” stated Remisova, who believes that the quality of lunches would only decrease further.

Remisova believes that families with children would benefit from a hike in state contributions per child. “Not only would this cut red tape, it would be fairer, as it often happens that when families with several children have a small child, the siblings of school age eat at home and hence won’t receive any support. The Smer-SD proposal won’t aid these families whatsoever.”

To this end, OLaNO at the September parliamentary session will submit a bill aimed at granting every child the right to a cooked meal. “Furthermore, the ministry should help schools to acquire their own canteens, as up to 11 percent of schools don’t have one,” stated Remisova.

Earlier on Tuesday, Smer-SD chair Robert Fico announced that free-of-charge lunches are expected to be provided for final-year nursery and primary schoolchildren as of January 1, 2019. with the state contributing €1.20 per child per day.