No such thing as a free school lunch

1st January 1999 at 00:00
GERMANY. Subsidised school meals will end in the last two districts of eastern Berlin to offer them.

Nine years after the fall of the Wall, the subsidy of one-third of the cost of lunch was dismissed by the Berlin authorities as a "relic of former times".

Other districts have already cut their subsidies. "We kept them as long as we could," said Michael Szulczewski, the schools adviser for Hohenschonhausen district .

The decision comes as record numbers of families in the city are living on social security.

East German schools were full-day schools with meals provided; now the school day is shorter with children returning home around 1pm for lunch or bringing sandwiches.

Warm meals are usually offered by outside providers for about Dm70-90 (Pounds 23-30) a month. The subsidy kept meals cheap for all families, not just the poorest.

Officials said it was a surprise that the subsidy was kept for so long given the harsh cuts in Berlin's education budget. They claim parents are prepared to pay more. One official said: "Experience showed that children did not lose out on a warm meal when the subsidy was withdrawn."

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today