Raising schoolchildren's lunch budget by Bt1 is ‘not marginal’, says minister
The increase in the lunch budget for students by 5 per cent, or from Bt20 to Bt21 per person per day, is not a "marginal increase" as widely criticised by the public, Education Minister Nataphol Teepsuwan said on Sunday.
The ministry announced the new budget last week to cover students from Anuban 1 [kindergarten] to Prathom 6 [Grade 6] levels in 49,861 schools nationwide, totalling 5,894,420 students.
“If you look at the meal budget alone, a Bt1 increase will seem insignificant,” he said. “However, we have discussed with the Budget Bureau to restructure the management cost of lunch budget, effectively reducing it from Bt4 to Bt2 per person per day. Adding this saved cost to the increased meal budget, each student will be allotted Bt3 more per day, or equal to a 20 per cent increase.”
Nataphol added that more adjustments to the lunch budget will follow in the future to suit the changing economy and the size of the schools.
“Small schools will need a lunch budget of around Bt30 per person per day, while large schools with more than 300 students can be easily managed with less than Bt20 lunch budget per person per day,” he added.
“With efficient management we can balance this out and make sure that the budget is adequate to provide nutritious meals to all students.”
The minister added that in the past year there had been significantly lower cases of lunch budget corruption, thanks to the ministry’s strict cost management system.