CHILD RIGHTS International (CRI), a child-centred organization, says the decision by President Akufo-Addo to order one hot meal per day to all final-year junior high school (JHS) students sitting for their exams is a laudable idea and a good social intervention programme.
A statement issued and signed by its Executive Director, Bright Appiah, said “during this Covid-19 period, there should not be a discontinuation of this programme.”
“This is so because we would have to ensure consistency in implementing social intervention programmes that would cut across the board from primary, JHS, and SHS,” the statement said.
The organization also asked government to use the new initiative as a trial or pilot programme to assess the feasibility of expanding the programme across the board beginning from primary to the senior high school (SHS) level.
According to CRI, there were still policy gaps regarding enrollment and quality education at the primary level and SHS.
“Government intervention at the JHS is limited in terms of social intervention programme so this new initiative should be used as a springboard in measuring the extent to which students across the board can enjoy such social intervention programme,” the statement added.
Touching on some of the disparities that existed in the educational sector with regard to social intervention programmes, CRI said students in the JHS had not benefited much as compared to those in primary and SHS.
“At the primary level, students are enjoying capitation grants as well as school feeding programme. At the SHS level and under the Free SHS education, day students enjoy one hot meal while the boarding students get three meals per day. So it is only the JHS where the social intervention programme is limited,” the statement explained.
CRI further called for the extension of the social intervention programme to private schools that were running curricula in line with the government programmes, especially in deprived areas where the government could not reach.
President Nana Akufo-Addo has announced that all final-year junior high school (JHS) students are to be given one hot meal per day from Monday, August 24.
This came after it was reported that some final-year students had been “going hungry in complying with the Covid-19 protocols”.
In his 15th address to the nation on Sunday on measures taken against the spread of Covid-19, President Akufo-Addo disclosed that he had instructed the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Cynthia Morrison, to begin preparing one hot meal to all final-year JHS students and staff.
According to him, such a measure, expected to be in place for close to one month, was to ensure “full observance of the Covid-19 safety protocols” by both students and staff.