April 13, 2020
Extension of School Meal Subsidies to Students on MOE Financial Assistance Scheme During Full Home-Based Learning Period
1. The Government has provided a range of support to Singaporeans, including families with school-going children who are affected by the outbreak of COVID-19 and the resultant circuit breaker measures. This includes the Care and Support package, Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme and the Temporary Relief Fund, as well as recent measures announced in the Solidarity Budget.
2. In schools, primary and secondary school students on the Ministry of Education's (MOE) Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS) who return to school during this period of full Home-Based Learning (HBL) can also benefit from subsidies under the School Meals Programme (SMP). The SMP was originally set up in 2006 to provide subsidies for meals purchased from the school canteen and consumed in school. As announced earlier, schools remain open during full HBL for a limited number of students whose parents, among other reasons, do not have alternative care arrangements and have asked the school for help.
3. To provide added support for all primary and secondary students on MOE FAS during this circuit breaker period, MOE, with support from the Sayang Sayang Fund launched by the Community Foundation of Singapore, will now extend meal subsidies to these students regardless of whether they return to school during full HBL. This provision will apply for a period of four weeks, covering the full HBL period from 8 April to 4 May 2020.
4. MOE will disburse the school meal subsidies via two top-ups to eligible students' School Smartcard. With the extension of MOE's school meal subsidies, primary school students on MOE FAS will receive a total of $60 each, while secondary school students on MOE FAS will receive a total of $120 each. This subsidy amount is similar to the amount primary and secondary school students on MOE FAS would have received if there were lessons going on as usual in school. However, during this circuit breaker period, primary school students will receive an additional support of $20 from the Sayang Sayang Fund. The School Smartcard can be used to purchase food and essential groceries at some hawker centres, food courts, minimarts, convenience stores and supermarkets. Students can redeem the extended meal subsidies at any TransitLink Add Value Machine once every two weeks, starting from 14 April 2020.
5. The extension of the meal subsidies amounts to about $4.5 million, of which about $500,000 is provided by the Sayang Sayang Fund. It will benefit around 45,000 students and complements other support extended to them and their families during this circuit breaker period.