Tighten monitoring to improve school feeding programme – Eric Opoku

The Ranking Member on the Food and Agriculture Committee of Parliament, Eric Opoku has lamented the irregular funding of the School Feeding Programme which he said is defeating the purpose and collapsing the Programme.

He said the purpose of the Programme which is to “motivate parents to send their wards to school, improve attendance, participation and retention of pupils” is at an all-time low due to this challenge.

The MP also bemoaned that caterers of the policy have not been paid for two academic terms by the government thereby compromising the quality and quantity of food served to students.

“The quality and quantity of the food that is supplied have been compromised and if you visit any of the schools and you look at the quality and quantity of food that is served to children, you will be more than worried and it is so because resources are not being provided and the caterer is being tasked to look for funding for the programme on her own and if she is unable to do that, what do you expect to happen in our schools?”

Speaking to journalists at Parliament, Eric Opoku also blamed the ineffectiveness on the lack of monitoring by the Secretariat overseeing the Programme.

“The biggest challenge has to do with the monitoring. Who is monitoring the programme and how many people have you recruited as monitors, and how do they monitor? Because of the inefficiency in the monitoring process of the programme and irregular funding, the programme is almost collapsing.”

He further added: “If you are providing food, you must be concerned about the environment and the environment must be hygienic, so you have to provide a befitting kitchen and tools to enable them to deliver hygienic food for the consumption of our children. Unfortunately, some of the caterers prepare the food under trees and when there is rain, they move into the classrooms to prepare the food and which will not only affect the quality but also the academic work.”