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The Bill on Amendments to the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act and the Vocational Educational Institutions Act (616 SE), initiated by the Estonian Centre Party Faction, passed the first reading in the Riigikogu. The Bill will ensure free school lunch to students acquiring secondary education, besides students acquiring basic education in full-time study at municipal, state and private schools.

As of 1 January 2006, free school lunch is offered to the 1st to 9th grade students.

The Bill also provides for the establishment of the minimum rate of school lunch support at 1 euro per student per school day. At present, the relevant state support is 87 cents.

In the estimation of the representative of the initiator of the Bill Mailis Reps, the additional expenditure for the state budget will be 8.9 million euro if school lunch support is increased to 1 euro and upper secondary school students are included among those who receive the support.

In the name of the Cultural Affairs Committee, member of the Cultural Affairs Committee Paul-Eerik Rummo moved to conclude the first reading. “The action plan of the coalition of the Estonian Reform Party and the Social Democratic Party includes a similar objective, namely the payment of school lunch support to upper secondary school students, besides basic school students,” Rummo said. He added that the Cultural Affairs Committee wanted to wait for the relevant draft of the Government of the Republic and to take the next procedural steps in the juxtaposition of the two drafts.

Liisa-Ly Pakosta took the floor during the debate.

The verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian) 

The Riigikogu Press Service