On Wednesday 23rd October, Dr. Marc Wegerif of the Human Economy Programme was the guest on the TUKS FM Hot Topics programme. He spoke about hunger among tertiary students, explaining how serious the situation is, with some studies finding that over 60% of students at tertiary institutions are food insecure. This impacts negatively on their academic performance and increases drop out rates. The most affected students are black students, those from poor families, and those who are the first generation from their families to enter tertiary institutions. The limitation of such students’ achievements and potential, due to food insecurity, therefore, perpetuates inter-generational poverty and race and class inequalities in South Africa.
So far, not enough is being done to address this crisis. Some universities are assisting students, but the responses tend to be ad-hoc and falling far short of meeting students right to food. Marc argued that universities need to do more to achieve the right to food and build a more just food system through: their work of education and knowledge generation; the food environment created on campuses and at residences; and contributing to building a more just and sustainable food system in the country.
More information can be found in an article on Student Hunger that Marc co-authored in The Conversation. A #FoodTalks seminar on the topic will also be held at the Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship on 5th November 2019.