The Slovenia Times

All primary school kids will have free meals - from 2027

A school cafeteria in Idrija. Photo: Bor Slana/STA

The Slovenian parliament has unanimously passed legislation under which school meals will be free of charge for all primary school children as of 1 September 2027.

The legislation was tabled by a non-governmental organisation with the support of voter signatures but is a watered down version of the original bill since the group wanted the changes to take effect this year.

However, a last-minute amendment was passed giving fully subsidised meals to children from families with a monthly income of under EUR 433 per person per month starting this September.

The vote capped months of debates about the feasibility of such a scheme in many schools, some of which have made it clear that they have neither the staff nor the space to feed all children.

The Education Ministry has therefore come up with a pilot project of a regional central school kitchen where a large number of meals would be prepared for multiple schools.

While the legislation won bipartisan support, some centre-right opposition criticised the government for kicking the can down the road and pushing implementation of the legislation well into the term of the next government.

At the same time, some opposition MPs said it should have gone further and provide one free meal per day to secondary school students as well.

The 8th March Institute, which tabled the legislation, welcomed the vote saying that "public primary schools are one of the fundamental mechanisms of collective solidarity" and schools must be spaces where every child feels safe and accepted.


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