Seoul will enforce the provision of high-quality ‘eco-friendly school meals’ at all national and private elementary, middle and high schools in Seoul starting in 2021.
This will be a step which will follow the start of eco-friendly school meal provision at elementary schools by the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education and autonomous districts enforced in Seoul in 2011, and an extension of this provision to all students of elementary and middle schools who receive compulsory education was enforced in 2014. Essentially, all high schools will receive the benefits of eco-friendly school meals starting in 2021 through phased-in enforcements. Students of national and private elementary schools, as well as global middle schools who were subjects of compulsory education but have been set aside due to financial reasons at the time will become newly eligible for support.
Almost ten years since the start of eco-friendly school meal provision in 2011, over 93,000 students at 1,302 schools in Seoul will enjoy their rights to a ‘healthy daily meal.’
What is an ‘Eco-friendly school lunch’?
The links between health, environment, and ecology were taken into consideration to apply the principle of prevention of harmful ingredients. The production-processing-distribution processes of meal provision will be ecologically sustainable and safe, and all required expenses will be paid for by the country or autonomous districts.
In particular, the percentage of eco-friendly ingredients used in high schools which have previously been excluded from receiving support for eco-friendly school meals and which therefore remained in meal quality ‘blind spots’ has increased to around 70% of the eco-friendly school meal level, and it is anticipated that this will further raise the level of meal quality. Parents of students can also expect a reduction in education expenses of about 800,000 won annually.
Mayor Park Won-soon stated, “It took almost ten years after the first enforcement in 2011 for all students of elementary, middle, and high schools, national and private schools, as well as alternative schools in Seoul, accredited or unaccredited, to enjoy the benefits of eco-friendly school meals. The eco-friendly school meal is also a policy based on the spirit of the Korean constitution which states that ‘compulsory education shall be free of charge.’ Such phased and gradual expansion of Seoul’s eco-friendly school meals will write a new chapter in the history of Seoul in becoming a city of welfare and education. Considering that the annual meal cost per high school student is 800,000 won, it can be seen as a supportive policy that also relieves financial burden for parents in regards to the family budget economy. We will continue to expand the provision of healthy and eco-friendly school meals as planned and without leaving a single student out.”