The Primary School 28 Augustus in Oe-cussi is using its own cash to purchase vegetables for the school feeding program because they are not receiving support from the Ministry of Education (ME). “The full complement of foodstuffs is not being distributed for the school feeding program, sometimes they only provide rice, no cooking oil or vegetables, so we took it upon ourselves to borrow some money from the school kitty to buy them,” said EP28 Augustus Principal Martinho da Cunha (27/07) in Oe-cussi.Other measures to resolve this issue included enlisting the help of parents.
“If parents can assist us, we borrow money from them to buy vegetables and when the money is transferred they are reimbursed, so as to keep the program viable. They also help by growing vegetables in their own gardens,” said the Principal. Constancio Suni representing the parents said this problem arose due to centralization and individual interests of some leaders. “This is not due to failure by the school’s directors, but the effect of centralisation. Everything depends on decisions made in Dili and the people implementing are always the ones left with the blame. Leaders have greater party interests than looking after the interests of the community,” said the representative. He asked the ME to execute the budget approved by Parliament adequately.“These programs should be maintained because the budget has been approved by Parliament, s the money should be used for this purpose rather than being deposited somewhere or worse still in someone’s pocket,” lamented Suni. In response, Justinho Neno, Regional Education Director for Oecussi said the school feeding program had stopped due to the lateness in transfer of funds from Dili.
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