By Michael Evans.
Students at an elementary school in Hunan province were provided with a single slice of bread and a bottle of milk as part of a government program aimed at improving rural children’s access to nutritional meals.
Liang Xuye, a teacher at Suode Primary School, complained on her micro blog in late October that each student in the county received only one slice of 20-gram bread and a bottle of 200-ml milk for lunch, which is not nearly enough to meet a child’s nutritional needs.
The students were supplied with seven cases of expired milk in November, Liang said, adding that she reported the incident to the county’s education bureau but was ignored.
Fenghuang county introduced the subsidized lunch program in May, joining an effort launched by the central government last October. The nationwide free lunch program aims to feed 26 million students in 680 counties and cities across China, according to the Global Times.
Government guidelines allocate 3 yuan to provide a daily lunch to each student in the program. But Guangzhou’s Yangcheng Evening News reported that the bread and milk supplied to students in the county could be bought for 0.3 yuan and 1.6 yuan in local stores.
Two officials in the Fenghuang county educational bureau and three administrators at the primary school have been fired for their role in overseeing the project. While many suspect that the leftover funds were pocketed by local officials, the county bureau of education has so far declined to comment.