[Letters] Free meals for childrenDo you know that there are some children nearly dying of starvation at Korean schools? The country I’m talking about is not North Korea but South Korea. The reason why this terrible situation occurs in South Korea is the government’s policy. The Korean government has been implementing a free meals policy selectively for children from low-income families. It is the government’s role to guarantee free meals for every child to ensure equality in school, reduce students’ financial burdens and improve our quality of life.
First of all, free meals for every child can actualize the equality to eat at least in school. Selective implementation of the free meals policy has a stigma effect on children in low-income class. For example, there were some children who rejected the free meals service because they did not want to be considered poor and they felt deeply embarrassed about their poverty at such a tender age. Free meals for every child can change this reality.
Second, free meals for every child can benefit every household economically by cutting down on their food expenses. Free meals for every child can reduce 1,650,000 won ($1,410) of expenses per month for the standard family of four. Also, this cost might improve our chances of achieving economic stability. Thus, free meals for everyone should be enforced not only for the realization of equality but also for improving our economic condition.
Finally, free meals for every child can develop our quality of life by enlarging the welfare system. Scandinavian countries provide high-quality welfare services including free meals for every child. As a result, many data show that people in these countries are very satisfied with their life.
Some opponents to free meals service claim that welfare states collect more taxes compared to Korea so we can not introduce the overall free meal service unless we reform our tax system entirely.
However, social equality is one of ideal factors that has to be pursued to make our society better regardless of our present limitations. In this point of view, the policy of free meals for every child can act as a meditator between the present society and utopia.
In conclusion, I emphasize that free meals for every child is an unavoidable duty for our children, our economy and our better future.
Baek Min-ji, student at Dongguk University