One of the major highlights of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s address to the nation on Sunday was the announcement of one hot meal a day for final year Junior High Students.
Apart from the 584,000 students in both private and public schools, their teachers and other staff, numbering 146,000 would benefit from this package that aims to ensure full observance of the COVID-19 safety protocols.
The President who was delivering his 15th update on the country’s response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, said the decision was based on reports that some of the students were going hungry, due to compliance with COVID-19 protocols.
“I have just instructed the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection to begin preparations to ensure that, as from August 24 up to September 18, all 584,000 final year JHS students 146,000 staff, both in public and private schools, be given one hot meal a day”, he announced.
The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Mrs Cynthia Morrison, under whose supervision, the School Feeding Secretariat falls, has since declared its readiness to execute the President’s directive.
The Ghanaian Times finds this arrangement timely and crucial.
This is because the arrangement for the re-opening of the JHS on June 29 to enable the final year students to complete their course work and write their exit examination came with many restrictions in line with COVID-19 protocols.
One of them was that students were not allowed to go outside for break like they normally and were expected to eat any snack they brought to school in their respective classrooms during break time.
Anyone who has been a student before would agree that studying on empty stomach is not easy and would understand the situation under which some of the students are studying.
Therefore, one hot meal a day would fuel the brains of the students to pay attention in class instead of being distracted by the grumbling of their stomachs due to hunger.
The students need all the concentration that they need because already the fear associated with the pandemic is enough distraction.
After all, if a soldier cannot match on an empty stomach, a student cannot also learn on empty stomach.
While we commend the government for this intervention, we must however, remind the Gender Ministry and caterers who would be in charge of the distribution of food, to be diligent in their work.
There have been several reports in the past of handlers of such projects of underserving the beneficiaries and enriching themselves while others cooked under unhealthy conditions.
We, therefore, urge the ministry to ensure that same is not said about the upcoming exercise so that the exercise would be fruitful.
The Ghanaian Times commends the government once again and recommends that measures are put in place to sustain it beyond the stipulated period because we believe that it is a good incentive to education.