Call for free school meals amid rising child poverty

With child poverty rising due to the economic crisis, a team of public policy experts from the Athens University of Economics and Business (AUEB) has called for a state program offering school meals, noting that pupils could be fed for as little as 3 euros per child per day.

According to the proposal, providing meals to some 750,000 pupils at primary schools would cost around 400 million euros, or 0.22 percent of gross domestic product per year. Extending the program to secondary schools, and another 650,000 pupils, would cost 750 million euros or 0.4 percent of GDP. The cost would be lower if subsidized by the pupils’ parents in line with their income, according to the AUEB team who proposed first targeting schools with a greater proportion of poor children. The proposal came as the Education Ministry said it had secured 60 million euros in European Union cash to provide fruit, milk and toasted sandwiches to 250,000 primary school children.