The Member of Parliament for the Ejura-Sekyedumase constituency in the Ashanti region, Muhammed Bawah Braimah, has bemoaned the politicization of the national school feeding program.
According to him, pupils in schools in his constituency have for the past few months been denied meals following clashes between National Democratic Congress (NDC) and New Patriotic Party (NPP) fanatics over the management of the program in the constituency.
Speaking on the floor of parliament on Friday, March 17, Bawah Braimah said, stakeholders including Parliament must help resolve the issue.
“This unfortunate development if not addressed immediately, may affect the purpose of the program and will affect the delivery of education to the people of Ejura Sekyeredumase. It is important that going forward all stakeholders work together to free the program from politicization which has the potential of undermining the effective delivery of this laudable program.”
He added that, the development has resulted in low attendance in public schools in the constituency, and expressed fear that if the situation is left unattended to, it will affect the standard of education in the constituency.
“Mr speaker, since the 12th of January to date, the 14,000 school pupils have not been fed resulting in low attendance in public schools. In this era where successive governments are putting in place pragmatic intervention to promote educational development, any effort aimed at draining such interventions like the school feeding should be resisted. I’ll like to crave the indulgence of this House and appeal to Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection and the Minster of Education to intervene to ensure that the children who are the future of this nation are protected to ensure that their education is not compromised. The earlier the food program is resumed the better for education delivery in the constituency,” he said.
The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, has referred the matter to the joint parliamentary committee on Education and Gender for discussion and necessary actions to address the problem.
The school feeding program is a policy intervention introduced by the NPP government led by former President Kufuor several years ago to increase access to education.
The policy sought to ensure that school pupils were provided with lunch, funded by government, as a way of encouraging them to be in school.