Children benefiting from the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) have called on the government to maintain and sustain the programme.

According to them, the programme should not be scrapped but expanded to cover all public primary schools in the country, since it was helping in not only reducing the burden on parents but also attracting more children to attend school.

The children made the call in separate interviews with the Daily Graphic during a tour of some schools yesterday on the ‘My First Day At School’ event, which ushered in the 2008/2009 academic year.

The day is used to welcome children who are going to school for the first time and welcoming others who would be moving to new classes.

It is also used to sensitise the public to the need for people to send their school-age children to school.

The GSFP, which was introduced in 2005, is currently operational in 987 kindergartens and primary schools out of a total of 13,246 primary schools nationwide with 477,714 pupils benefiting from it.

And this has led to an increase in school enrolment in those schools by 17.5 per cent and improved school attendance by 19.3 per cent.

Primary schoolchildren at the Apenkwa Cluster of Schools in Accra said the school feeding programme was good, since some of them were not given money regularly to go to school.

A class three pupil of the Apenkwa Presbyterian Primary School, Elizabeth Ogyaa, said although the food was nutritious it was not enough, hence the need to increase the quantity given them.

Kofi Nyanno, a class six pupil of the Shiayennoh Primary School, described the programme as a relief to parents, since some of their friends who were absenting themselves from school because they did not have money to buy food were now regular at school.

A class six pupil of the Apenkwa Presbyterian Primary School, Mariam Yakubu, also commended the government for the introduction of the programme and appealed to those who served the food to have patience and not scream at the children.

Two parents, Joyce Larbi and Amina Becheem, who brought their children for admission to class one, lauded the government for the programme.

The National Co-ordinator of the GSFP, Mr Michael Nsowah, who toured some of the schools to mark the ‘My First Day at School’ event, said the programme was targeting about 95,000 pupils to achieve its target of 560,000 this year.

He said the Cabinet had approved an increase in the feeding fee under the programme from 30Gp per child per day to 40Gp.

He told the children that the government wanted them to grow up and become responsible citizens, hence the numerous support and interventions.

The Netherlands government supports the GSFP by co-funding the feeding cost on a 50:50 basis.

Source: Daily Graphic