To help increase students enrolment in all public basic schools and to also ensure that pupils are adequately fed especially among students living in deprived communities, the government has indicated its preparedness to continuously expand the programme to cover all public basic schools in future.
The national Coordinator of the school feeding Programme, Dr. Kwame Adu-Nsiah, disclosed this in an interview with some journalists in Accra.
"The objective of the programme is to ensure that all children of school going age will go to school and so the government has increased beneficiaries from 1,671,777 to 2,174,000 pupils. This move will also prevent students from absenting themselves from school and also help them to desist from giving one form of excuse or the other especially in some of the rural communities where children are sometimes used as farm hands by their parents. He stated that, some of the students sometimes move from one school to the other as a result of some neighbouring schools providing food to their students hence the need to continuously expand it to cover more public basic schools in future. He noted that the government has not only expanded the beneficiaries but it has also increased the feeding fee from 80 pesewas to 1 cedi to help increase the quality and quantity of the food provided. He said "The 1 cedi may not be enough to provide a meal but the government saw the need to at least increase it a bit to help increase the quantity and quality of the meal for the students but the amount will be increased in future as it has to be done gradually looking at the number of beneficiaries and school feeding days". When asked if government has paid school feeding caterers all arrears owed them, Dr. Adu-Nsiah, said all arrears from 2016/2017 third term academic year to first term 2017/2018 academic year have all been paid.
He said "We have paid 2015/2016 third term arrears, we paid June first term 2016/2017, October 2016/2017, we again paid some also in the same month of October, then we paid in December 2016/2017 third term and 2017/2018 first term academic year. They have all been paid, we are only left with the second term which has just ended to pay and also pay some few people who provided names which were wrongly spelt among others. The national Coordinator however indicated that affected persons will be paid soon as such challenges have been resolved.
By: Ebenezer Kofi Amponsah