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School Children (Meals)

Volume 526: debated on Wednesday 7 April 1954

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he is aware that the Institute of Medical Research in Malaya has reported that many children from the rural areas travel long distances to school without a meal and get nothing until they return home in the afternoon; that this is retarding both their physical and mental progress; and if he will take steps to provide a midday meal at the schools for these children.

Yes, Sir. The Federation Government are at present considering the report of a committee set up last year to examine the problem.

Will the Minister bear in mind that these children have a long way to go and have nothing to eat from the time they leave their homes until late in the afternoon? Will he press the local people to take some steps to provide these children with meals during the morning or early in the afternoon?

The nature of this problem is well known to the Federation Government, but the need for pushing on with primary education is probably even more urgent than that of providing the amenities to which the hon. Member refers.