The Ghana Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT) has urged the government to increase the school feeding fee from GH₵1.00 to GH₵5.00 for each pupil.
In an interview with Roselyn Felli on Prime Morning, Tuesday, the Communications Director for the Coalition, Adokwei Ayikwei-Awulley, commented that the initial amount of GH₵1.00 (tax inclusive) allocated for the feeding of a school child is inadequate because it amounts to only 0.97 pesewas after tax is deducted.
According to him, the government’s aim of increasing school enrollment and checking malnutrition among children through the school feeding programme has failed, hence the need for the programme to be reviewed.
“If you look at the aim of the school feeding programme, it is supposed to increase school enrollment and to ensure that attendance and retention are enhanced, to check malnutrition and also to reduce poverty and hunger and all that, but let us look at it critically, if you’re paying GH₵0.97, they’re saying it’s GH₵1.00 but tax is deducted, so you’re left with GH₵0.97,” he stated.
The reduction in the initial amount, according to him, makes the food given to the children not sufficient. He believes the increase will help improve the quality and quantity of food served to schoolchildren.
Mr. Ayikwei-Awulley further said that not all schools need the school feeding programme, indicating that those in deprived communities need it most, and thus he urged the government to focus the programme on deprived communities.
This, he believes, will encourage children within those communities to attend school.
“We have some communities that are deprived. Teacher unions have taken it upon themselves with the Ghana Education Service; we’ve gone round, we’ve looked at communities that are deprived, and if they want that document, the committee is yet to present it to the GES. You’ll know that this community is really deprived, so let us channel the school feeding programme to this community. Definitely, if they know they’ll get food to eat, they’ll come to school,” he explained.
Also speaking on the show, the Supervising High Court Judge, Justice Kofi Akrowia, advised against increasing the number of schoolchildren to be able to properly feed them considering the current economic crisis the country is faced with.
He said, “I believe at the moment, looking at the economic situation in the country now, I’ll advise that we do not consider increasing the numbers of the children, but you concentrate on what you have covered now and ensure that you give them quality food and then timely payment for the contractors.”
Justice Kofi Akrowia entreated the government to ensure that the school feeding programme is efficiently executed by making sure that children are properly fed with the right nutritional diets.
In its 2023 budget, the government stated that social protection programs, including school feeding, would be expanded.
Ghanaians are, therefore, hopeful that the initiative will be improved to enable the enrollment of more schoolchildren, especially within deprived communities.