A primary school in central China has been caught scrimping on the meals it serves its pupils despite telling parents if was offering a nutritious spread every lunchtime.
After apparently receiving a tip-off, the father of one of the 300 children at the Dacao Primary School in Shangshui, Henan province shot a video that showed pupils were being given nothing more than half a bowl of plain noodles.
In contrast, the school lunch menu showed that they were meant to get 60g of chicken, at least three kinds of vegetables and rice every day, Thepaper.cn reported.
“There are no vegetables here at all, let alone any meat,” the angry parent could be heard saying in the video, which circulated widely online on Wednesday.
“These pupils are still growing children. How can they grow surviving on such food?”
The two-minute clip caused outrage among parents, prompting the provincial education authorities to open an investigation into the matter and punish those responsible.
“Our county education authority sets the standard for the pupils’ lunch menu,” Shang Huaimin, who headed the central institution overseeing the school, told The Beijing News.
“The school’s canteens are usually operated by restaurant companies. They get the business by winning tenders held by the education authority.”
On Thursday, the school’s principal Han Jifeng was fired, according to the education authorities, while Shang has been suspended from duty.
Other education officials whose work involved overseeing Dacao Primary School have also been penalised.
The authorities also said they were continuing to investigate the matter.
In 2011, Chinese authorities launched a “student nutrition improvement programme” to subsidise pupils’ meals.
Since then, more than 33 million primary and secondary school pupils in about 700 impoverished counties across China have benefited from this scheme, according to the Ministry of Education.
But the Chinese media has reported on a series of cases where pupils who were supposed to benefit from the initiative were given rotten food.
Earlier this month, three children suffered severe food poisoning at a primary school in Wanan county in Jiangxi province.
In 2016, a secondary school in Qiaojia county, Yunnan province, was caught serving rotten vegetables to its pupils.