A survey carried out by the members of Parliament has shown that the decision by the Ejura Sekyeredumase Assembly to suspend the Ghana School Feeding Programme is frustrating the country’s basic education system.
The politicising of the programme has caused the absence of school pupils in classrooms, said Braimah Mohammed Bawah, who’s in charge of the constituency in the area. As a result of the takeover of the management of the programme by party foot soldiers, the feeding policy was suspended earlier this year.
Parents who cannot afford to provide school lunch for their children now keep them at home. It was reported that shortly after the NPP won the 2016 elections, supporters of the party across the country went on rampage sacking women employed by the school feeding programme to feed schoolchildren.
Hon. Bawah prayed to the Speaker to appeal to the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection as well as the Minister for Education to intervene. In his speech delivered to the House on Friday, he said:
Mr. Speaker, this unfortunate development if not addressed immediately may defeat the purpose of the Program and eventually affect quality of education delivery to the pupils of Ejura-Sekyedumase. It is important that going forward, all stakeholders work together to free the Program from politicization which has the potential to undermine the effective delivery of the Program.
He opined that the earlier the School Feeding Program is resumed, the better for educational delivery in the constituency. Hence he is calling on the government and all stakeholders including the Select Committee on Education to, as a matter of urgency, to look into the matter to get the Ejura-Sekyedumase Municipal Assembly to resume the operations of the Ghana School Feeding Program.
School Feeding in Low-income Countries
Unfortunately, unproven statistics has shown that for millions of kids, going to school hungry has become a norm and being hungry has an enormous impact on a student’s ability to learn. Experts analysis of the situation revealed that kids who go to school hungry may suffer an inability to concentrate and often fall behind academically.
Moreso, hungry kids are more likely to miss school because of illness, and more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety, and develop behavioural problems as teenagers. They are more liable to drop out before graduation, which leads to lower-paying jobs and a greater probability of being food insecure adults.
Child experts and philanthropist Lucy Melcher believes there’s a lot of potential being squandered because kids are going to school hungry and the ramifications go beyond a growling stomach.
In developed countries, generous individuals, not only government, also provide funds for school feeding programmes.
The government of Ghana has found it necessary to introduce the School Feeding Program, with support from the Dutch Government in order to boost basic school enrollment, attendance and retention of pupils. The Program is also an initiative of the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Program, pillar 3 (CAADP) which seeks to enhance food security and reduce hunger in line with the MDGs on hunger, poverty and malnutrition.