Sent an Email to Jenny Macklin – I wonder if I’ll get a reply?
I am writing to you to express my concern about recent coverage of Aboriginal health, education and welfare and to offer a simple suggestion which I believe will make a great difference in the race to improve quality of life and educational outcomes in Aboriginal communities.
I believe the introduction of school provided meals for breakfast and lunch, free of charge and of high quality, could go a long way to achieving several important outcomes:
- Improved health
- Improved school attendance
- Improved ability to concentrate, leading to better academic performance
- Exposing children to what should constitute a proper diet ( There is evidence that adult dietary patterns are learnt in [childhood )- Allowing parents to focus on self improvement, by needing to provide 10 fewer meals per week.
- Reducing financial load on families.
A recent article on Aboriginal welfare, highlighted nutrition as a key problem. Providing proper meals helps meet the foundation of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Once these basic needs are met, focus can be moved to other community problems.
Finland, consistently one of the highest performing countries in educational results has provided free school meals to everyone since 1948. A key point is that all students should be provided meals – providing meals to only those in dire need has a stigmatising effect.
This is by no means a complete solution, but could provide immediate improvement in quality of life for young Aborigines. Providing free meals to Aboriginal students could be considered as a pilot program, as it is my opinion that, in the future, all Australian schools should provide all students with a free lunch.