Child Rights International (CRI) has lauded the decision by government to provide one hot meal per day to all final-year Junior High School (JHS) children – calling for a policy that will make the initiative permanent at the JHS level.
“This is a laudable idea and a good social intervention programme. However, the programme should not be discontinued after the current exams. This is so because we will have to ensure consistency in implementing social intervention programmes at the primary, JHS and Senior High School levels,” said a statement signed CRI’s Executive Director, Mr. Bright Appiah.
According CRI, there is currently a comprehensive policy regarding enrolment, infrastructure, feeding and others for the primary and SHS levels; however, the JHS level has been deprived.
“Government intervention at the JHS is limited in terms of social intervention programmes, so this new initiative should be used as a springboard in measuring the extent to which students all across the board can enjoy such social intervention programmes”
Touching on some of the disparities existing in the education sector with regard to social intervention programmes, CRI said students in JHS have not benefitted much as compared to those in primary and SHS.
“At the primary level, students are enjoying capitation grants as well as school feeding programmes. 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 JHS where the social intervention programmes are limited,” the statement explained.
On private schools, CRI stated it will be necessary for government to extend the recently announced social intervention programme to GES-approved private schools, especially in deprived areas.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced, in his 15th address to the nation on measures taken to help contain the COVID-19 pandemic, that that all final-year Junior High School (JHS) students are to be given one hot meal per day effective Monday, August 24, 2020.
This comes after it was reported that some final-year students had been “going hungry in complying with the COVID-19 protocols”.
President Akufo-Addo disclosed that he had instructed the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Cynthia Morrison, to begin the necessary preparations for making one hot meal per day available to all final-year Junior High School students and staff.
According to him, this measure – expected to be in place for close to one month – is to ensure ‘full observance of the COVID-19 safety protocols’ by both students and staff.