Reports by MARTIN CARVALHO, HEMANANTHANI SIVANANDAM, RAHIMY RAHIM and TARRENCE TAN
KUALA LUMPUR: Between RM800mil and RM1.67bil will be spent to provide free breakfasts to some 2.7 million primary school students nationwide next year, says Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik (pic).
“Seven schools in four states are participating in a pilot project between September and November involving between 47 and 2,380 students.
“The pilot project involves urban, rural and Orang Asli schools which will be used as guidance for the Free Breakfast Programme to be implemented in primary schools throughout the country in January next year, ” he told by Sabri Azit (PAS-Jerai) in Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday (Oct 9).
He said two modules will be used for the programme which involves two different sets of menus.
He said the first module would require 30 minutes with a menu of a combination of cooked food and fruits.
“The second module would require 10 minutes and involves a menu of a combination of diary or healthy beverages and ‘ready to eat’ or ‘on the go’ snacks such as bread, cereals, biscuits, cakes and boiled eggs, ” he added.
Besides providing nutritious and healthy breakfasts to students, Dr Maszlee said that the programme will also provide the opportunity for teachers and students to bond when having breakfast together.
“Teachers will be able teach their students on healthy eating, being civic and table manners, ” he said, adding that students will be made to wash their own utensils.
“It is also good news for the teachers involved in the programme as they too will be provided with free breakfast, ” he said.
He added that a standard operating procedure will be implemented to avoid incidences of food poisoning.
He said that his ministry is working closely with five ministries and agencies including non-governmental organisations to implement the programme.
Earlier, Dr Maszlee said that some 70% of students skipped breakfast while the World Bank’s Report on Realising Human Potential noted that incidences of stunted growth in Malaysia was high.
The minister had announced the free breakfast programme in August aimed at ensuring that primary school students were provided with a healthy meal to start their day.