One million students without financial resources begin the school year without receiving public aid for the dining room. These scholarships reach only 13% of Spanish students, despite the fact that the 28% is in a situation of risk of poverty.
The data comes from a report that the NGO educate has presented this Tuesday where the deficiencies of public financing for children in socioeconomic disadvantage by all the autonomous communities are denounced. These public scholarships only reach 50% of the children who need them: about a million minors receive them, but another million remain outside the system. Why are so many in this situation?
“It’s a mix of reasons,” he replies. Pilar Orenes, general director of Educo. “Either the autonomous communities do not have a sufficient budget to serve everyone, or they are associated with criteria linked to a threshold that does not coincide with the poverty threshold, or they give aid that does not cover all the food, or require procedures that are not easy to carry out”.
The importance of the school canteen, explains Orenes, lies in the fact that “not only does it ensure a healthy meal a day for children who do not have it guaranteed at home, but it is also a space where they interact with others, learn to resolve conflicts and develop skills”. “In addition, the child who stays in the dining room is more likely to stay for afternoon after-school activities, which improves learning and reduces the chances of truancy.”
The report denounces a great disparity of criteria between autonomous communities. To begin with, each community uses different formulas to define the child population that can benefit from the scholarships and some require a very low income to receive the aid and others not so much.