The ministerial supervisory responsibility over the management of the School Feeding Programme has changed hands from the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection.
The change, which was prompted by a directive signed by the Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah, is said to be part of plans to enhance the implementation and management of the feeding scheme.
Among other objectives, the programme is one of the social interventions aimed at boosting enrolment in public school, as well as addressing the nutritional needs of children.
The management of the scheme has faced occasional challenges regarding the payment of caterers, provision of quality foods and the monitoring of the service providers.
Since its inception in 2005, the programme has been coordinated at the local level through the assemblies.
The Chief of Staff’s communiqué to the affected ministers did not give reasons for the change, but analysts believe it may have been because of the government’s move to place all social protection programmes under the Gender, Children and Social Protection Ministry.
Accordingly, the local government minister Alhaji Collins Dauda, has since handed over his sectoral responsibility to the Minister of Gender, Nana Oye Lithur.
The programme was established in 2005 by Ghana and the Dutch Government as a means to boost domestic food production and increase school enrolment, attendance and retention among kindergarten and primary school children.
Last academic year, more than two million pupils benefitted from the programme in schools from 216 districts.
By Edmund Mingle