25% of Canarian schoolchildren have dining room scholarships, but there are more poor families

Archive image of a dining room in a school in Gran Canaria. / JUAN CARLOS ALONSO

Save the Children points out in a report the need to change the system to reach more vulnerable schoolchildren and asks to extend the food service to institutes

Louisa del Rosario

Canarias in the community with the greatest coverage of canteen scholarships, reaching 25% of Infant and Primary students,
but does not reach all vulnerable families who need it, which are 28%. This is highlighted by the report
'Guarantee healthy and free school canteen for all children at risk of poverty' presented yesterday by Save the Children with data from the 2019-20 academic year.

School canteen aid in Spain reaches only 11.2% of infant, primary and ESO students when child poverty is at 27.4%. Coverage disparities between communities range from 1.9% in Murcia to
25.2% in the Canary Islands and only in Euskadi do they cover all students at risk of poverty”, highlights the study. In this way, he adds, there would be "1,085,378 children and adolescents without help."

An income below 554 euros per month

In addition, the NGO emphasizes that in order to access the dining room scholarships in their maximum amount in the Canary Islands, it is necessary to have
an income below the poverty line.

Specifically, on the islands, it is granted to families of four with incomes below 554 euros per month and, in addition,
These aids are competitive, that is, when the allocated item is exhausted, it is not extendedso many families are left out.

Only 5.7% received help in confinement

Save de Children also points out that during the first year of the pandemic the dining room scholarship was replaced by cards to buy food in supermarkets or by the delivery of prepared food in a large part of the communities, but according to the NGO's calculations,
«Only 5.7% of the student body -half of the canteen scholarship holders- benefited from the service in those months».

The differences between communities are also clearly appreciable when comparing the average amount that each region invests each year per student in dining aid.
List in which the Canary Islands appear as the second community that invests the most with 74.90 euros, only below Euskadi (1,208.77 euros) and almost four times more than Madrid, which remains at 22.55 euros. The national average is 44.47 euros.

Fewer canteens in public centers

With regard to the types of centers that offer dining services, the Save the Children report highlights that
in Spain this service "is offered more frequently in concerted and private centers than in public onesdespite the fact that the latter educate the majority of vulnerable students».

"More serious", reads the NGO report, "is
in Secondary schools, where less than one out of every ten public institutes offers a canteen, while nine out of ten private centers that offer Compulsory Secondary Education do. This means that most of the adolescents between the ages of 12 and 16 who attend public centers do not even have the possibility of accessing it », she regrets.

In 9.5% of secondary schools in the Canary Islands

In the Canary Islands
94.9% of public nursery schools, 77.8% of public Infant and Primary schools and only 4.9% of secondary schools and centers offer a dining service.. In the first two parameters, the islands are above the average (64.9% and 72.5%, respectively), but remain in the middle in the third (9.5%).

The Basque Country is the territory in which the most centers offer a dining room to their students, accounting for 100% of nursery schools78.5% from Infant and Primary and 68.5% from Secondary.

Objective: dining room for each student living in poverty

Save the Children asks to establish as an objective "guarantee free school canteen to each girl and each boy in a situation of poverty" in Spain taking advantage of
european fundswhile
“prioritize the construction of school canteens and kitchens in public secondary schools”.

The NGO understands that
there is a problem of childhood obesity and overweight which particularly affects minors from families with lower income while promoting
the school canteen «is less stigmatizing than the distribution of food and gives rise to a comprehensive intervention of socio-educational accompaniment children at risk of exclusion”.

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