Free SHS: Some Senior High Schools cancel breakfast due to lack of essential food supplies

 Some Secondary Schools in the country have been forced to schedule meals so that breakfast and lunch can be taken as one but other schools are foregoing the breakfast altogether due to lack of essential food supplies under the Adutwum-led Education sector.

These developments only come weeks after the sector Minister embarked on a PR-campaign across the Senior High schools and was seen eating and drinking with the students in their dining halls.

Shortage of flour, cooking oil, rice, beans, margarine, groundnut paste, beans among others have hit the Secondary Schools hard following accumulation of debts which the ministry of education has failed to address.

Sources at the Buffer Stock Company told that funds released by the Ministry of Finance for Buffer Stock to clear part of its debts were rather used by the Education Ministry to pay for textbooks.

This has left Buffer Stock in the red to the tune of more than Ghc300million.

While the government claims to have released food stuff to the schools, check shows this has not been done.

In schools were breakfast is served, there is no sugar or bread as the students had to take their own sugar and buy bread to the Dining Hall.

A student of Mfantsipim School said the porridge served to them in the school is tasteless and is light like water.

Another student said: “Sometimes the quantity is small.”

The headmaster of the school Rev. Ebenezer Aidoo said the food situation was dire, but the school was working around the clock to address the situation. As at July 25, the food situation in most schools has not improved.

The porridge is too light and without bread and so in the morning I don’t go to the dining hall.” A student from Cape Coast is quoted by a sister media outlet.

The Headmaster of St Augustine’s, Henry Arthur-Gyan, also said the school had no option but to manage the situation.

“We know there are challenges and so we manage with what we are provided. There is not much we can do about it,” he stated. earlier reported how following the food shortage, authorities at Wesley Girls in a meeting agreed with parents to pay an amount of Ghc1000 to ensure their wards are well-fed with quality well-balanced meals.

The Cape Coast school is one of many Senior High Schools in Ghana under the Free SHS program that has been hit by food shortage due to alleged lack of resources to support the program. The Buffer Stock Company has also been struggling to provide food to support the schools.

Some parents told this portal that although they were not forced by the school to pay the amount, the school authorities wanted the matter of the payment to be confidential and secret as government could take action against the school if it came to light.

Another parent who considered the amount excessive said majority of the parents could afford hence there was little room for consideration of those who couldn’t afford it. Other parents also feared their wards could be victimized by Wesley Girls authorities if they refused to pay or questioned the amount. 

The school met the parents and agreed that instead because there waa shortage of bread, Mackerel, sugar, cooking oil, rice and flour among other essential commodities used in preparing food for the children, parents should come in on their own terms.

The situation in Wesley Girls SHS was said to have reached  dire and deteriorated levels where the students went to the Dining hall because it was compulsory but could not eat due to the food situation where students took their own bread and sugar for breakfast.

Wesley Girls is not the only school affected but is so far the only school to levy parents for feeding purposes. It is not clear if the others are also doing same secretly.

On the part of Ashanti Regional Chairman of the conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS), Rev. Fr Stephen Owusu Sekyere, most schools in the region were facing an inadequate supply of food items, with the major challenge being vegetables, palm oil, sugar and flour.

Rev. Fr Sekyere, who doubles as the Headmaster of the Opoku Ware School (OWASS), said at times “students come to the dining hall with their own sugar. But we have been managing with the little we have and when it gets finished, we wait for the supplier.”

Because I don’t want the students to demonstrate during my tenure, at times I have to dig into my pocket to buy some of the items from the open market just to ensure that the students are okay,” he said.

Source : Mynews Gh

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