Some Heads of Second Cycle Schools in the Upper East Region have claimed that they are compelled to use food stocked for continuing students to feed first year students because suppliers contracted by government to supply food to the schools have failed to deliver.
They said the feeding grants of continuing students are used to feed the 2017/2018 academic year students who are non-fee paying and this has placed many schools under financial stress.
The Free Senior High School policy is a government flagship programme which has been implemented to ease the financial burden parents endure in paying school fees of their wards.
The policy includes the provision of feeding grants, textbooks, and other learning materials to all public Senior High Schools to enhance effective teaching and learning and improve quality of education.
Speaking to some of the Head teachers in the region, they said many of the things have not been provided as stated in the policy, especially with regards to food for the newly admitted students.
Mr Thomas Amare, the Principal of the Bolgatanga Technical Institute (BOTECH), told the Ghana News Agency that the Buffer Stock Company, which has been contracted to provide the various schools with the food has not lived up to expectation.
He said “this year we increased our admission number by only ten students making it 825 and that was the number we gave for the placement. The feeding debt keeps on increasing because there are still arrears that government has not settled.
This has compelled us to use the continuing students feeding grants to feed the first years students as well.”
Mrs Rosemond Avosige, Headmistress of the Bolgatanga Girls Senior High School (BOGISS), who said the issue was a hindrance to effective academic work, added that “what is heard from the other schools are the same problems we facing here and our grievances have been directed to the Regional Director of Education and we are hoping that something will be done soon.”
At the Bolgatanga Senior High School (BIG BOSS), Mr Vitus Angkyire, Assitant Headmaster in charge of Administration, told the GNA that even though the school admitted less number of students this academic year as compared to last year, they faced many setbacks in feeding the students due to the delay in the release of food for the first year students.
“Due to the Free SHS we are not required to receive anything from the first year students as feeding fee and the food has not been coming. We have resorted to our traditional provider to feed both the continuous and fresh students,” he said.
He urged government to equip the Buffer Stock Company with the necessary resources to release the food meant for the Free SHS students to augment the existing feeding.
He appealed to Non-Governmental Organizations and philanthropists to assist the school to ensure that quality education was achieved.