The Riigikogu discussed the Bill on Amendments to the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act and the Vocational Educational Institutions Act (207 SE), initiated by the Centre Party Faction, at the first reading. It provides for the establishment of the rate of school lunch support per student at one euro per school day.
Mailis Reps, who spoke on behalf of the initiators, said that the ensuring of school lunch for students is no longer adequate in view of the food price rise. The school lunch support ensured for local governments has been 78 cents per child for the past five years. Reps noted that it is difficult to cover the catering cost of a primary school or basic school child with such an amount. At present, most of the local governments have topped up what has been needed. She said that free school lunch, especially considering its purpose, should in the greater part, at least to the extent of the cost of food, be ensured by the state after all.
Representative of the Cultural Affairs Committee Yoko Alender pointed out the position of the Government, that the goal set by the drafter of this Bill cannot be met with the Bill, and the construction proposed in the Bill is not a legally appropriate way of increasing the school lunch support. That is, the Government in no way overturns the principle, but the way in which the Bill has been drafted is not the right way to meet the goal set.
Representative of the Free Party Faction Andres Ammas, who took the floor during the debate, supported the Bill.
The Riigikogu voted on the motion of the lead committee to reject the Bill at the first reading. The result of voting: 38 in favour, 38 against. Thus the motion was not supported. The first reading of the Bill was concluded. 2 June was set as the deadline for submission of motions to amend.
Video recordings of the sittings of the Riigikogu can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/riigikogu
(NB! The recording will be uploaded with a delay.)
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