Teacher unions in the country have expressed concern over the delay in the supply of food items to senior high schools (SHSs) in the country.
The unions, made up of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers — Ghana, (CCT-GH), warned that any further delay would impact negatively on the smooth running of the Free SHS policy.
“It is unfortunate, heartbreaking and disturbing that the schools have to look for funds elsewhere to cater for the SHS students until funds are disbursed from the Ministry of Education. We reiterate that any further delay will impact negatively on the smooth running of the Free SHS policy. Consequently, we call on the Ministry of Education and all the duty bearers to act swiftly to deal with the precarious and difficult situation currently confronting the schools by the close of Friday, March 19, 2021.
“If by the close of next week we do not receive any favourable response, we shall determine the next line of action,” they said in a statement.
This was contained in a statement jointly signed by the General Secretary of GNAT, Mr Thomas Musah; the President of NAGRAT, Mr Eric Angel Carbonu, and the President of CCT-GH, Mr King Awudu Ali.
They unions said in the statement that it had come to their attention that since the past eight weeks when the SHSs reopened for the 2020/2021 academic year, not only had the supply of food items by the Buffer Stock Company to the SHS stopped but also the Ministry of Education had failed to transfer the needed funds for the smooth running of the schools.
It added: “We wish to state that the situation at the SHSs is critical and has brought the SHSs on their knees owing to the delays in releasing government funds, non-supply of food items by the Buffer Stock Company and compounded by the early reporting to school at the beginning of each term. Compared to the period preceding the Free SHS, now students no longer have to wait for school fees to be provided them before reporting to school.”
The statement said school feeding in Ghana had mostly operated at the primary school level with expected outcomes including poverty reduction, increased school enrolment, improved food security and improved nutritional status.
It said the programme had recorded marked increase in school enrolment, reduced the gender gap between boys and girls and improved nutritional status in the beneficiary schools.
“It offers an excellent opportunity for targeted intervention to students not only as a means for improving educational outcomes but also enhancing nutritional outcomes.
“In the light of these successes of school feeding in the primary schools, the government of Ghana introduced a policy on free school feeding in the SHS in September 2017,” it said.
The aims, it said, were to increase enrolment and potentially improve the nutritional status of students in SHSs, adding that the policy included three square meals for residential students and a hot lunch for non-residential students.