School feeding in Ghana has mostly operated at the primary school level with expected outcomes including poverty reduction, increased school enrolment, improved food security, and improved nutritional status.
The programme has 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 Senior High
Schools (SHS) in September 2017. The aims were to increase enrolment and potentially improve the nutritional status of students in SHSs.
The policy includes 3 square meals for residential students and a hot lunch for nonresidential students. The policy has been implemented in a progressive manner, starting with students in the first year of SHS admitted in the 2017/2018 academic year.
It has come to the attention of the Teacher Unions (Ghana National Association of Teachers, GNAT, National Association of Graduate Teachers, NAGRAT and Coalition of Concerned Teachers Ghana, CCT-GH), since the past eight weeks when the Senior High Schools reopened for the 2020/2021 academic year, not only has the supply of food items by the Buffer Stock Company to the SHS stopped but also the Ministry of Education has failed to transfer the needed funds for the smooth running of the Schools.
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 the GOG funds, non-supply of food items by the Buffer Stock Company and compounded by the early reporting at school at the beginning of each term, compared to the period preceding the Free Students no longer have to wait for school fees to be provided them before
reporting to school.
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 swittly to save 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 favorable response, we shall determine the next line of action.