School Feeding Caterers’ decision to suspend their services until their demands were met by the government has revealed absenteeism and low attendance in some basic Schools in the Kadjebi township.
The Caterers refused to feed pupils with one hot meal a day since schools reopened on May 9, 2022 for their second term academic works.
The withdrawal of service is over the delay in the payment of feeding grants for two terms and called for increment of the grant from 0.97 % to three Ghana Cedis (GH₵3.00) per child.
A teacher at Kadjebi E.P Primary School, who wanted to be anonymous, said the school attendance had reduced from 689 pupils to 455pupils as at Friday, May 20 due to the strike, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA).
He appealed to the government to heed the demands of the Caterers for payment of their feeding arrears and increase feeding grant to at least GH₵3.00 per child.
Another teacher at Kadjebi D /A “A” Primary school, who granted an interview to GNA, said the Caterers’ demand for increment in the grant was legitimate since food prices had increased.
He said the strike had affected attendance as the enrollment of 524 pupils has dropped to 450.
He said the School Feeding Programme was good, but they should be involved.
At Kadjebi R.C Primary School with an enrollment of 532 pupils, a teacher who spoke to GNA on condition of anonymity said the strike had affected attendance and academic work seriously, so the government should respond to their demands with urgency.
He said the School Feeding Programme although good, he had a challenge with its implementation in the school as they were not involved in the menu to be prepared and served, thus, Cooks prepared any food and served it anytime and anyhow.
He said sharing of food was erratic, not regular and many excuses in relation to food quality.
Mr. Emmanuel Adamu Bilbe, a Desk Officer-in-charge of Ghana School Feeding Programme at the Kadjebi District Assembly told GNA that the Caterers were on strike due to non-payment of their feeding grants for two terms and demanded that the grant be increased because of economic conditions and increased cost of foodstuff in the market.
Mr. Bilbe said all documentation on the payment of the arrears were collated and forwarded to the appropriate office, so payment would soon be affected.
The School Feeding Programme which started in 2005, aimed at increasing school enrolment and encouraged punctuality among pupils as well as enabling them to concentrate in class.