Final year JHS students enjoying their hot meal

Government has rolled out ‘One hot meal a day’ initiative across about 17,440 public and private schools nationwide to enable the students and teachers focus in class as they prepare for the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE).

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced the programme in his 15th update on the country’s COVID-19 Response to fighting the pandemic after reports that some final year students were going hungry due to compliance with the safety protocols.

The Chief of Staff, Mrs Akosua Frema Osei-Opare; and the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Mrs Cynthia Morrison visited some selected junior high schools in Accra on Monday to monitor the provision of the meal to the final year students, their teachers and non-teaching staff.

The schools visited included Morning Star International School and the Kanda cluster of schools.

However, there are issues of quality of the food in some schools, which are being investigated for redress.

Speaking to journalists, Chief of Staff Mrs Osei-Opare, indicated that the programme will run till September 18, 2020 when the students are expected to complete their final examination.

She encouraged them to focus on their studies to be able to enjoy the Free Senior High School Policy, saying, “Do not focus so much on social media but rather on your books to pass the exams”.

On her part, Mrs Morrison said her Ministry is collaborating with the Ghana Education Service to iron out any operational challenges in terms of the number of staff in each school.

“Our menu has been slightly changed to incorporate local dishes such as yam and ‘Kontomire’ stew, banku with okra stew among others.

“In case a child is allergic to a particular meal, the school should inform the team so that such children will be given exceptions,” the Minister added.

The initiative is being rolled out by the Gender Ministry in collaboration with the ministries of Education, Health and Finance.

Mrs Morrison said they would monitor the about 17,440 schools nationwide that would benefit to ensure that the right food, quantity, and quality were given to the students at the said time.

The Proprietress of Morning Star International School, Nana Abena Kwakyi, expressed gratitude to the Government for the initiative.

Similarly, Headmistress of Kanda AMA Basic School, Mrs Veronica Dabuoh, said programme came at the right time as it would enable both the students and teachers to remain focused in class without worrying about where to get food to buy.