The introduction of the School Feeding Programme by the previous administration has come with so many challenges as I expected. I knew things were going to go wrong right from the beginning. Many were those who jubilated at the inception of the programme and even used it as a political campaign tool by the New Patriotic Party in the 2008 elections.
The responsibility of every nation is to create the enabling environment for its citizenry to earn a decent living to take care of their children and not the state directly involving itself in feeding the children under a programme called School Feeding Programme
When you give birth to a child, it is your sole responsibility as a parent to provide shelter, food and education for that child to achieve his or her dream and not the burden of the state.
Many have also taken advantage of the Programme to procreate indiscriminately to the detriment of the limited resources available under the Programme. When you go to the rural areas it is free for all. Teenage pregnancy is on the ascendancy because they believed the School Feeding Programme will take care of the child they procreate
I am calling on this administration to scrap the School Feeding Programme and replace it with a programme that will embark on a massive infrastructural development both in the rural and urban schools. At least we have been reading in the papers and also seeing it on our television sets school children sitting on stones under trees studying. What we need as a nation in this trying moment is not the School Feeding Programme but a conscious exercise to get rid of all schools under trees within a certain period of time and also equip the already built classrooms with modern facilities that can aid effective learning
The introduction of the Programme is characterised by so many problems. We have not gotten there yet to introduce such a programme. Recently, for the first time in our history we heard school children going on demonstration to force the authorities to bring back the original caterer. Isn’t it laughable? These children were sending signal to the authorities that all is not well.
We also heard about caterers fighting each other for political grounds to enable them cook for the children. It was also reported that some of the children were having divided attention whiles in the classroom. This is due to the fact that most of the children did not eat from their various homes before getting to the school. Such a thing should be expected. A soldier does not walk on an empty stomach to war. The children must be fed by their parents before reaching the school. We are risking the lives of these children and the earlier we stop the programme the better. Stop the Programme and the parents will take it upon themselves to make sure the children eat before getting to the school.
Corruption is also one of the numerous problems facing the Programme. The previous manager was sacked from office for alleged wanton corruption on his part. We also heard about maggot infested tomatoes being used by some of the caterers to cook for the children thereby putting their lives in jeopardy.
Even the developed countries with all the resources at their disposal do not encourage free feeding of school children with the sole aim of increasing the numbers in the classroom. The main purpose of the School Feeding Programme was to encourage or increase the number of children in the classroom. The question we need to ask ourselves is, do we have the infrastructural facilities to accommodate the numbers? If not, then our focus should be on the facilities and not the feeding
Our under development as a country is partly due to misplaced priorities, adoption and implementation of wrong policies by our political leaders. Most of these leaders who governed the country after independence did not have clear cut plan or vision to see this country developed. When I take a look at our country Ghana in terms of development and other countries, it looks as if Ghana is cursed for which we need God intervention. I believe it is not too late we can start from somewhere.
I will plead with the present administration to take a bold step to terminate the School Feeding Programme even if it will generate political uproar
Education is the backbone of every economy; therefore our political leaders must make frantic efforts to give it the needed attention especially at the basic level.