Final year Junior High School (JHS) students across the country yesterday received their first free meal provided by the government as they prepare to sit for their exit exams in September.
The children, numbering about 584,000 and 146,000 staff in 17,440 public and private schools each received a pack of Jollof rice with boiled egg and ‘Shito’.
The intervention announced by President Akufo Addo in his 15th Covid-19 address is to ensure full observance of the Covid-19 safety protocols by both students and staff in schools.
The Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei Opare and the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Cynthia Mamle Morrison visited The Morning Star and the Kanda AMA Basic Schools in Accra to monitor the implementation of the President’s directive.
“I have come to see how it is going, and I also want to know if you are okay with the food.
“The idea is that you cannot study on an empty stomach so we are giving you one decent meal so you can focus on your studies and do well in the exams. We are praying with you and President Akufo-Addo is praying with you and we know that you are going to be victorious,” Madam Frema Osei Opare said after observing launch time with the children at The Morning Star School.
Mrs. Morrison addressing the media after monitoring the process at the Kanda AMA Basic School said food vendors are not allowed to sell food in schools as a result of the Covid-19 protocols hence the initiative to serve one hot meal a day for all JHS final year students in the country.
“Today is the pilot and we are here to monitor what is going on and we have seen that everything is going well. I am also coordinating with the regions and so far the feedback I am getting is everything is going well,” she said.
She, however, said that there are a few exceptions where the number of teaching staff is more than the number given, “but the numbers were given to us by the GES so we will go back to them to rectify it.”
She also indicated that the menu has slightly been changed to factor in a beans meal and local foods like kontomere, yam and banku.
“If a child is allergic to a certain food they notify us so we give those children exception,” she said. “We also have a daily report the schools submit to us to know the exact food they were served, the quality and quantity, and the time that they were brought in and if they are is any problem they put it down.”
A final year student of the Kanda AMA Basic School, Eunice Paintsil, in an interview with the media said she brings launch from the house to school every day adding that with the free hot meal she would not have to worry about what she will eat for launch.
“We thank the President for this and we promise to do our best in the exams,” she said.
The monitoring was done in collaboration with the Ghana Education Service, and the Ghana Health Service, Ministry of Finance and Social Welfare Department.