Needy students to still get meal subsidies while learning at home
Meal subsidies will be provided for about 45,000 primary and secondary school students on the Ministry of Education's (MOE's) Financial Assistance Scheme regardless of whether they return to school during the full home-based learning (HBL) period.
Eligible students who are in school for the four-week HBL period, which runs until May 4, will continue to receive subsidies for meals in the school canteen, while those who do not return to school will also be awarded subsidies.
Primary school pupils on the scheme will receive $80 each, along with additional support of $20 from the Sayang Sayang Fund, while those in secondary school will get $120.
MOE said this subsidy is similar to the amount that eligible students would have received if they were attending lessons in school as usual.
In a Facebook post yesterday, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said the extension of the meal subsidies will help students from disadvantaged families who benefit from the school meals programme but may not be in school during this period.
He added: "Many of them still come to school for their HBL under the supervision of teachers. But others (do) not, for various reasons, and despite teachers reaching out to them.
"For them, it is not just losing a conducive learning environment. They depend on schools for something as basic as having their meals."
The subsidies will be disbursed through two top-ups to eligible students' School Smartcard, which can then be used to purchase food and essential groceries at some hawker centres, foodcourts, minimarts, convenience stores and supermarkets.
Eligible students can redeem the subsidies using their School Smartcard at any TransitLink Add Value Machine once every two weeks from today.
The extension of the subsidies amounts to about $4.5 million, of which about $500,000 is provided by the Sayang Sayang Fund, said MOE. - WONG YANG