Meal subsidies to continue for needy students during school break

ST pocket money fund has pledged up to $2m; MOE to match every dollar distributed

MOE had provided school meal subsidies during the period of full home-based learning, which started on April 8 and ends on May 4.
MOE had provided school meal subsidies during the period of full home-based learning, which started on April 8 and ends on May 4.PHOTO: ST FILE

Meal subsidies for more than 47,000 primary and secondary school students from low-income families will continue over the month-long school break, which has been brought forward to begin tomorrow.

In a joint statement yesterday, The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (STSPMF) and the Ministry of Education (MOE) announced a dollar-for-dollar contribution for the initiative.

STSPMF has committed up to $2 million, with MOE matching every dollar distributed.

Second Minister for Education Indranee Rajah said: "With the school holidays coming up, we wanted to ensure that children from low-income families would continue to receive financial support for meals even though there is no school or home-based learning."

MOE had provided school meal subsidies during the period of full home-based learning, which started on April 8 and ends today.

"This is what the spirit of SGTogether and SGUnited is about - pooling resources and helping each other so that we can all pull through together," she added.

The children will receive school smartcard top-ups in two tranches, with primary and secondary school students receiving $60 and $120 respectively. It will benefit more than 47,000 of them on the MOE Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS), MOE Independent School Bursary and Special Education FAS, who have been receiving meal subsidies during the school term.

The school smartcard can be used for payment at certain convenience stores and supermarkets, as well as 146 hawker centres and coffee shops. The stalls that accept it will display the ez-link logo. Eligible students can approach their school for the list of merchants that accept school smartcard payments.

The first top-up can be redeemed at TransitLink add value machines from tomorrow, and the second will be available from May 18.

The redemption period for both top-ups will end on June 10.

DIGGING DEEP TO HELP

The idea that some might not have enough money to tide them over during the coming school holidays was hard for us to contemplate. In the face of this devastating crisis that has hit the entire world, now is the time to dig deep to help as much as we can.

MR WARREN FERNANDEZ, chairman of STSPMF. He is also editor-in-chief of Singapore Press Holdings' English/Malay/Tamil Media Group and editor of The Straits Times.

Eligible students will be informed about disbursement arrangements by their schools.

The STSPMF provides school pocket money to about 10,000 primary, secondary and post-secondary students from low-income families yearly. The money is disbursed to them through the support of mainstream schools and social service agencies islandwide.

Mr Warren Fernandez, chairman of STSPMF,said: "The STSPMF was set up to try to prevent kids from going to school hungry.

"The idea that some might not have enough money to tide them over during the coming school holidays was hard for us to contemplate."

Mr Fernandez, who is editor-in-chief of Singapore Press Holdings' English/Malay/Tamil Media Group and editor of The Straits Times, added: "In the face of this devastating crisis that has hit the entire world, now is the time to dig deep to help as much as we can."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 04, 2020, with the headline 'Meal subsidies to continue for needy students during school break'. Subscribe