Obec secretary-general Boonrux Yodpheth said he ordered his assistant, Sanit Yamgesorn, to inform directors of all primary educational service area offices to gather full details on the expenditure.
Schools will be asked whether they received a budget for the program for the first semester of this school year and whether the money was delayed.
Those that failed to receive funding will be asked how they dealt with the situation, he said.
The schools will also have to explain how they arranged lunches for students in the event of a delayed budget.
The information will be reported to the Primary Educational Service Area 1 of each province and then forwarded to provincial governors and the Obec secretary-general by tomorrow, Mr Boonrux said.
Directors of the service area offices must also survey the number of schools in their respective jurisdictions and how many obtained money for their lunch programs, he said.
The schools facing complaints about irregularities will be investigated to see if there are grounds for the allegations, he added.
Meanwhile, schools with “efficient” lunch management programs will be chosen as models for others to follow. They will also be requested to give advice on how other schools can improve their programs.
Mr Boonrux said there have been many complaints about these programs but it is not yet known how many are valid.
The Obec must separate fact from fiction and rumour before solutions can be sought, he added.
The order to scrutinise schools’ lunch budgets came after two schools in Surat Thani and Phichit were suspected of regularly serving substandard-quality lunches to their students.
In the Surat Thani school, a video clip went viral on May 31 showing young students eating noodles mixed with fish sauce for lunch.
Somchao Sitthichen, the former director of the school in Tha Chana district, was later sent to work at the Office of Surat Thani Primary Education Service Area 2.
Deputy chief of the office Jakkarin Apisamai, who is leading the probe, said his office recommended Mr Somchao be temporarily discharged from government service.
The panel found he had committed disciplinary breaches including arranging substandard food for the children.
In the Phichit case, an executive at a school in Muang Tapan Hin municipality allegedly committed malfeasance in connection with the school lunch program.
A 600-page report also found grounds for corruption charges in four other projects, including the construction of a concrete road in one compound, said Lt Gen Kosol Prathumchat, an adviser to the Education Ministry.
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