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Education NGO's begs gov’t to release SHS feeding grants


Northern Network for Education Development (NNED) has asked government to as a matter of urgency speed up process for the release of Senior High Schools (SHS) feeding grants in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions to go back to school.
Senior High Schools were supposed to resume school on Monday January 2014 but due to the delay in releasing feeding grants the students are still staying at home.
In a three point position paper issued in Tamale by over 100 members of NNED from the three northern regions and signed by Executive Committee Chair person, Mrs Rosemond Kumah said NNED recognizes and shares in the challenges government faces in meeting its financial obligations in various sectors of the economy.
Notwithstanding this, the Network thinks, and in line with government’s own pronouncements about the quality of education in Ghana, that payment of feeding subsidies should be highly prioritized.
The Network notes the following negative effects on the academic course and calendar of the schools concerned and wishes to bring them to the attention of government:

1. It is still fresh on our memories that similar situations disrupted the academic calendar in the past, notably 2011 and 2012. The academic calendar will adversely be affected if we go by the two weeks assurance given by the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning on the payment of the arrears. It is NNED’s view that the two weeks will run almost to the end of January 2014 and this means that one month would already have been lost in the term. This has become a perennial and recurring problem and requires urgent attention!

2. Students in year 1 already lost the first term because they reported late when the academic year began in September 2013. Losing one more month in the second term effectively means that the current batch of Year 1 students would have less than two years for the SSS programme since the final year is supposed to be mainly for revision and preparation for final examinations.

3. In the view of NNED the quality of the food served to students for ‘brain work’ could be a contributory factor to poor performance in SHS schools of Northern Ghana because school heads often have to feed students on credited food. Crediting often goes with interest, and this compromises the quantity of food served – schools get less of the food they plan to buy. Besides the question of quality of food, when payments delay, it creates room for accountability problems at the level of school management.

NNNED also came out with the following recommendations
1. From the above issues, NNED calls on government to urgently release the grants earlier than the time stated by the Finance Minister. We suggest the week of 20th to 24th January 2014 to avert this vicious cycle of anxiety among school heads, students and their parents.

2. Going forward, NNED is calling for a bipartisan, broader and dispassionate consultation to review the Northern Scholarship Scheme on the basis that the context under which the scheme was introduced at independence in 1957 has changed significantly.


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