The Deputy Country Director of SEND Ghana, Dr. Emmanuel Ayifah, has warned that should the ongoing strike being carried out by caterers under the School Feeding Programme continue some gains chalked by the initiative in the basic school system will be eroded.

He stated that it will particularly lead to an increase in school dropout rates across the country, especially in less privileged communities.

He noted that since the introduction of the School Feeding initiative during the erstwhile Kufuor administration, research conducted indicates that school enrollments had increased and barriers that prevented children from achieving educational attainment had been reduced.

However, the halting of this essential service could mean that those barriers would once again be brought back and pupils would start dropping out again.

“As I indicated, most of them [Head teachers] alluded to the fact that the School Feeding actually has helped, they’ve seen increased enrollment rate and has also reduced dropout rate. And parents actually also spoke about the fact that the school feeding programme has helped to facilitate educational attainment by reducing the barriers that their children otherwise could haven’t had because of the fact that they couldn’t even have food to give to their kids.

“And also there have been a lot of research out there. This is not of course from our work, but there are a lot of publications that point to very good nutritional outcomes as far as school feeding is concerned. And so halting preparation of meals for the kids will mean that they’re going to go back to the days where we have a lot of dropout rates, and we’re also going to go back to the days where the very good educational outcome that we see attained are all going to be eroded,” he bemoaned.

Speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express, he further noted that pupils would not be the only ones to suffer if the challenge with the School Feeding Programme is not handled with care.

According to him, the repercussions should the initiative be discontinued would be felt within the local economy as well.

He explained that the School Feeding programme created a lot of jobs in communities in which they were being implemented, thus should the strike continue without any timely solution, a lot of people who work within that particular supply chain will be hit hard economically.

“I mean talk about the number of caterers that the School Feeding employs, and talk about the other people that support the caterers. These are all sorts of employment avenues that people get through the school feeding programme. And the fact that they procure their ingredients from the local economy, the farmers and all the people that sell their produce to the school feeding caterers,” he said.

He thus called for swift action to the challenges riddling the Programme to avert the very huge impact its prolonged discontinuation will cause in the near future.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.