The city politician of the Left Alliance proposed breakfast to all Helsinki Primary School students.
Helsinki at its meeting on Tuesday, the Board of Education and Training decided to contribute to the promotion of free breakfast in the city’s schools.
The board is proposing to the Helsinki City Government that breakfast be piloted in four separately selected schools for 500 students and that the money for the experiment be set aside from the city’s budget for next year.
Helsinki Education and Training vs. Business Area Director Satu Järvenkallas according to piloting on this scale would cost 202,000 euros a year, with bread 330,000 euros.
Schools selected for the experiment should be those that receive positive discrimination funding to prevent exclusion.
The proposal the provision of free breakfast in primary schools was made by the city council of the Left Alliance Mai Kivelä. According to the council initiative, a significant proportion of primary school-age children do not eat breakfast every weekday morning.
“Studies have shown a link between a healthy breakfast and school success, but not all homes have the same conditions to take care of a nutritious breakfast,” the initiative states.
In addition to Kivelä, the initiative has been signed by 18 other city councilors. The initiative also proposes that the effects of breakfast provision on pupils’ coping and well-being be monitored.
City has not previously given the initiative a green light. According to Järvenkallas, the importance of breakfast for endurance has been noticed, but providing a free breakfast would be expensive.
“The additional costs of serving breakfast would consist of the cost of meals and the human resources used for supervision, but it is difficult to estimate the total costs accurately in advance,” Järvenkallas states in the draft opinion.
The city has calculated that providing morning porridge, fresh mash and milk in all Helsinki schools would cost about 4.6 million euros a year. If bread, spreads and bread toppings were also offered in addition, the cost would be around EUR 7.4 million.
Although there is experience of free breakfast in other municipalities, similar arrangements would be much more extensive in all primary schools in the city of Helsinki, according to the draft opinion.
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