Accra,- Ghana must expand the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) to the Junior High School level, Foundation for Security Development in Africa (FOSDA), an advocacy group, has said.
FOSDA noted that the inclusion of Junior High School Students in the Programme would not only improve enrolment and alleviate poverty but it would enable more students prepare towards government’s Free Senior High School concept.
Mr Solomon Okai, Programmes Officer, FOSDA, who was speaking at a media launch of FOSDA campaign for the inclusion of JHS at all levels, said the expansion of the programme would assist Ghana to fulfil the United Nations SDG goal of alleviating poverty.
Mr Okai, who spoke on behalf of Theodora Williams Anti, said three months ago, FOSDA commissioned a study into Ghana’s School Feeding Programme (GSFP) and progressive effect at the JHS Level, with comparative analysis of two African countries, namely Mozambique and South Africa.
He said FOSDA’s findings suggested that the absence of GSFP at the JHS Level was equally accounting for relatively high dropout rates in the country.
Mr Okai said data from the Ministry of Education on the completion rate from 2016 to 2019 averaged 100 percent at both national and sub-national level for primary schools.
“Within the same period, average completion rate for JHS was 76.8 percent at National level and 63 percent at sub-national levels. This shows a completion rate of 23 percent and 37 percent for JHS at national and sub-national levels respectively.”
Mr Okai said, for instance, from 26 percent to 83 percent in the 2014 academic year, there was a possibility that similar success could be replicated when the programme was extended to cover JHS level. “The conscious effort must be taken to bridge the inequality gaps in the GSFP.”
The country has been implementing GSFP in selected primary schools since 2005 with many success stories. The GSFP has seen expansion from successive governments.
Sixteen years on, only 30 percent coverage has been achieved out of about 30,112 public primary Schools.
The GSFP currently provides one hot meal per day for 2,980,000 beneficiaries. Out of this, over 1.7 million are primary schools and 1.2 million in second cycle institutions.
Source: Ghana News Agency