Evaluating the constitutionality of the National School Nutrition Programme guideline for Secondary Schools during breaks
Mulaudzi, Lebohang Victoria
University of the Free State
This study aims to evaluate the constitutionality of the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) guideline, which does not make provision for food for learners during school closures. Good health and nutrition are essential for a learner’s development and growth; thus, it is the government’s responsibility to participate in that development and growth. The government and the NSNP play a vital role in ensuring that learners in schools are provided with proper nutrition, enabling them to live healthy lifestyles and prevent non-communicable diseases. Section 27((b) of the Constitution of South Africa of 1996 provides everyone with the right to access sufficient food and water. Furthermore, the Constitution of South Africa stipulates that every child has the right to basic nutrition (1996a: 28 (1)(b))). The study is hinged on the Interest Theory of Rights (IToR), which seeks to safeguard a person’s rights, especially those of children, against the violation of their rights, by other individuals or the government (Anyadike, Nwachukwu &Wogu, 2021). The study utilises the interpretive paradigm as it relies on secondary qualitative data. The interpretive paradigm allows the researcher to interpret the truth and reality of individuals by making sense rather than creating a hypothesis (Romani, Barmeyer, Primecz & Pilhofer, 2018). A qualitative approach was undertaken to evaluate the constitutionality of the NSNP’s guideline on the non-provision of food during school breaks. The study utilises a literature study which relies on a thorough discussion of the existing knowledge from academic resources such as books, journals, articles, publications, and legal documents such as the Constitution, legislation, case law and international instruments, dissertations, and theses (Nayak & Singh, 2021). A single technique that requires perusing documents and records, known as secondary data collection, was used to collect data. The study’s sampling involves systematic sampling/review, as it requires me to only select documents that respond to constitutional imperatives and the provisions of the NSNP guideline and where applicable implementation practices that falls within the current five (5) years of publication (Ibid). To analyse the data, I used both document and thematic analysis. Document analysis relies on readily available data, enabling me to analyse data from secondary sources such as books, documents, policies, publications, and legal documents such as the Constitution, legislation, case law and international instruments, (Myers, 2019). Additionally, the study utilises thematic analysis, which involves reading over a data set and looking for meaningful patterns to identify themes (Lochmiller, 2021). The findings of this study were centred on themes regarding the research questions. The main finding for the study reveals that the NSNP guideline for secondary schools is not constitutional during school breaks. The study reveals that the NSNP plays an important role in preventing malnutrition by ensuring that it provides meals for learners while at school. But the meals or diet provided by the NSNP lacks adequate variety, which can contribute to Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). The study further reveals that a diet that is heavily reliant on carbohydrates does not prevent NCDs. Additionally, the NSNP aims to at least fulfil 30% of learners’ dietary needs. The NSNP meals do provide calories, but the nutritional value is questionable and can be improved. Nevertheless, the NSNP in most schools provides learners with only one meal for many learners. Furthermore, when learners are at home, the NSNP guideline does not offer guidance on how qualifying learners of the NSNP should continue to receive daily nutritional needs, which prevents them from malnutrition and NCDs, resulting in death. I, therefore, recommend that feeding of learners should be extended to all quantiles and all deserving learners should be fed. Learners who are already sick and have to exclude other food groups should be offered alternative diets. The study recommends that all qualifying learners, in all quantiles, should be provided with meals. Copying from the Western Cape and Gauteng provinces, it is advised that learners receive two meals per day during school hours. Furthermore, the study recommends that schools provide food parcels. Additionally, schools are encouraged to provide qualifying learners with food vouchers that will sustain them on days off or during school breaks. Learners who are already sick and have to exclude other food groups should be offered alternative diets.
Dissertation (M.Ed. (Education Law))--University of the Free State, 2023