There is enough food for distribution to SHSs – Dr Adutwum
Contrary to the public outcry over the shortage of food to feed students of the Senior High Schools(SHS), there is a large quantity of foodstuff in stock at the OseiKyeretwie Senior High School(OKESS) for distribution.
A visit to the school, which is one of the distribution centres for schools, by the Minister of Education, Dr Yaw OseiAdutwum, saw rice, gari, beans, flour, and various types of canned foods in large quantities in the storerooms.
The Minister, in the company of the Director General of the Ghana Education Service(GES), Dr Eric Nkansah and other officials, had visited the school as part of a four-day working tour in some parts of the Ashanti Region.
Speaking to newsmen after the visit, on Friday, the Minister said SHSs in the country had enough food to feed students without difficulties.
“There is no cause for alarm about reports of food shortages in schools,” he intoned as he assured parents and other education stakeholders that government had put measures in place to ensure regular supply of food to schools.
“The President is determined to address all challenges facing the Free Education Programme to preserve its huge benefits for posterity,…we have also made sure funds for the purchase of perishables are released to the schools on time to ensure students are fed without excuses,” he added.
DrAdutwum said government’s sustainable supply of food to the schools agenda, had resulted in contracting a company called Commodity Exchange to supply food in addition to the Buffer Stock.
He explained that the challenges of food supply facing the implementation of the Free SHSs brought the decision to add Commodity Exchange to find lasting solution to the shortage of foods in schools.
Contributing, the National Coordinator of the Free SHS Program, MrWilliam Darkwa, said OKESS was one of 54 distribution centres across the country where food for the schools was stored.
He also mentioned that there was adequate food in the schools and feeding the students was an important component of the programme that could not be compromised.
Ashanti Regional Free SHS Coordinator, OwusuBrobbey, on his part said a zonal system was now being used where the foodstuffs were taken to the zonal heads to check the quality and quantity before distribution to the various schools.
He added that there was abundance of foods in stock to feed the students in schools.
As part of the tour, the Minister and his entourage inspected ongoing Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) projects.
He took time to interact with the students,most times telling the story of how he got into secondary school to encourage the students that they should not put themselves down, but “be your own miracle maker.”
The Minister told them to take advantage of the STEM initiative to be more innovative in the technology world.
He told them that any arts student could now do engineering programme at the University following a pre-engineering programme rolled out by the University of Mines and Technology (UMAT) to train such students.
At Asem, the Minister inspected the first model STEM complex which has taken off for the cluster of Junior High Schools in the area.
Being undertaken by Focus One Construction Company,the project is being funded by the Arab Development Bank.
The Government, in collaboration with its development partners, is planning to build similar schools which would be equipped with physics, biology and chemistry laboratories at Bantama, Juaben, Onwe and Ejisu, all in the Ashanti Region, the Minister mentioned.
The mission of the STEM school is to meet the educational and professional development needs of a diverse community of STEM learners with cutting-edge and engaging experiences in flexible learning spaces through pioneering from science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
OseiKyeretwie SHS, Kumasi High, Kumasi Girls, Wesley Demonstration JHS, Krobea Asante Technical and Vocational Institute, Effiduase SHS, T.I Ahmadyyia (Asokore), Boanim SHS, Juaben SHS, were some of the schools visited.
Others were Saint Monica’s, Obuasi Secondary Technical, Christ the King, AsareBediako SHS, Bosomtwe Girls STEM SHS,St Michael Technical and Vocational Institute,Tepa SHS.
FROM KINGSLEY E.HOPE, KUMASI