SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, November 21, 2018 — Seoul will provide eco-friendly school meals for senior students in all of the high schools in all the 25 districts next year. Accordingly, 84,700 seniors in all 320 high schools in Seoul will get the benefit of eco-friendly school meal from next year. The beneficiary will be steadily expanded into 2nd and 3rd grader in 2020 and all classes in 2021.
□ After the Seoul Metropolitan Government announced its plan for a pilot project of eco-friendly school meal in high schools last month (Oct 29), many of the districts wanted to quickly participate in the program. The city government said that an agreement was reached so that all the autonomous districts will join the project from 2019.
□ Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, 25 district heads, Seoul Education Office Head, Seoul City Council Chairman announced a “Plan for Full Implementation of Eco-friendly School Meal in High School” based on the above agreement at 9:30 am on Nov 21st (Wed). They will hold a joint agreement ceremony among City of Seoul, autonomous districts, Education office and City Council. The increasing number of autonomous districts will provide such support for private elementary schools and international middle schools.
□ In addition to 11 autonomous districts who expressed the intention to join the program at the first phase, 5 more districts showed its intention of participation including Seongbuk-gu, Gangbuk-gu, Eunpyeong-gu, Seodaemun-gu, Seocho-gu. As such, a total of 16 districts will join the program next year including Jongno-gu, Jung-gu, Yongsan-gu, Seongdong-gu, Dongdaemun-gu, Jungnang-gu, Seongbuk-gu, Gangbuk-gu, Dobong-gu, Nowon-gu, Eunpyeong-gu, Seodaemun-gu, Mapo-gu, Gangseo-gu, Dongjak-gu, Seocho-gu.
□ Budget is the most important matter for all districts to simultaneously implement eco-friendly school meal in high school. As the scope of beneficiaries is increased, Seoul city has to additionally spend 18.8 billion won while Education Office needs to spend 31.3 billion won. The Seoul city government will discuss with the City Council about how to secure the budget during the budget deliberation process. Additional 16 districts were confirmed to join the program last week, and the original budget plan that the city government and Education Office submitted to City Council included the cost for the 9 districts only as planned. As the Seoul City Council decided to provide active support for ‘eco-friendly high school meal’ together with 25 autonomous districts under the spirit of universal education welfare, there gained a momentum in securing the budget.
□ Final expense for eco-friendly school meal for elementary, middle and high schools in Seoul in 2019 is 568.2 billion won (Seoul city 170.5 billion, education office 284.1 billion, autonomous districts 113.6 billion won). The share ratio among the three parties are the same as the matching ratio for the first free school meal initiative in 2011 (City 30%, education office 50%, and autonomous district 20%)
□ Mayor Park Won-soon said that “despite the difficulties in budget allocation, we decided to push forward with universal educational welfare in all the 25 autonomous districts in Seoul.” “Next year, all the 3rd graders in high schools in Seoul will have eco-friendly school meals. In 2021, the range of beneficiaries will be expanded to all classes in entire elementary, middle and high schools in Seoul. We will put effort in implementing this initiative as planned so that free school meals can help parents ease their financial burden and lay the groundwork for our children to become healthy and sound future citizens,” he added.