Some heads of senior high schools in Ghana have told The Fourth Estate that there are acute food shortages in their high schools.
This is despite the denial by the Ministry of Education of the food shortage. In a press statement released on Tuesday, the ministry claimed that “adequate supplies of food items have been made to the schools in question.”
However, when The Fourth Estate reached out to the heads of the schools that were quoted in the story, they said they were yet to be notified of any such supplies.
The ministry’s denial was in response to The Fourth Estate publication on Monday in which some heads of senior high schools threatened to close down their schools if they did not receive food supplies.
Even in the ministry’s denial, it admitted what it said were “recent disruptions within the food supply chain” in the schools.
This statement came a day after The Fourth Estate’s story catalogued the severe food shortage which had hit schools across the country. For instance, the headmistress of Avatime Senior High School wrote to the regional director of education asking permission for the students to feed themselves if the school did not receive supplies by September 30.
The letter from the Avatime Senior High School headmistress to the Volta regional director of education seeking permission to let students buy their own foods.
The headmaster of Alavanyo Senior High Technical School, Rev Samuel Pius Elewokor, told the Regional Free SHS Secretariat that the students were no more given lunch due to the shortage of food supplies.
The letter from the Alavanyo SHTS headmaster to the Volta Regional Free SHS Secretariat about the shortage of food supplies.
St Paul's Senior High School and Minor Seminary at Hatsukorpe(Ketu South) SPACO.
10 students One Fish.
Cc @gheduservice this is not healthy.
— #MrCaveMan #GenerationalThinker (@KobbyKyei_) October 10, 2022
Students of St. Paul’s Senior High School, Denu, shared rice and soup for lunch on Thursday, October 6, 2022. Video Credit: Kobby Kyei
In the Ahafo Region, the CHASS chairman has told the national executive committee that, heads of senior high schools have asked the regional director of education for an indefinite break until a solution is found.
“The two weeks emergency food supply as promised on Monday is a mirage. Nothing has yet come to the schools in Ahafo with empty accounts. The situation is dire. We wrote through our regional Director to DG to grant us permission to give open exeat to the students to go home today, Wednesday, 5th October 2022 and stay until such a time that enough food and money arrangements could be made and sent to us. We have not received any response, from our Regional Director so what should we do?” he queried in a notice to the CHASS National executives.
In the Upper West Region, the CHASS Chairman, Magnus Innocent, said donations from parents and philanthropists had become the lifeline for the schools.
“What has happened particularly in the Upper West Region is that many of the suppliers are refusing to give because they say they have not been paid. If the supply is delayed for one more week, that will be terrible. It will be a disaster. We have appealed to the PTAs [parent-teacher associations] and old students to help and that’s what’s moving the schools on.”
When The Fourth Estate contacted the Northern Regional Chairman of CHASS, Rev. Edward Azeka, after the ministry’s denial, he said he had not received any notification about food supplies or money.
“I am currently in Koforidua for the CHASS conference, but as of the time we were leaving Tamale on Monday [October 10, 2022] dawn, we were still in food crisis. We had not received supplies,” he said.
The Greater Accra Regional Chairman of CHASS, Paul Amoasi-Aquinas, told The Fourth Estate that, the schools were yet to receive any money, despite assurances from the Minister.
“It is not only one region, so if it’s a lie, he [the minister of education] should also come and tell us. Our president, Alhaji, said he has been informed that they have released money for day schools and they are going to give perishables to boarders and next week. They will give [money for] recurrent [expenditure] to boarders as well.
“So, we are waiting for it [the money] in our account… If he says we are lying, has the money reached our account?” Mr. Aquinas asked.
A senior manager in charge of corporate affairs at the National Buffer Stock Company, Enmanuel Arthur, told The Fourth Estate Monday, October 10, 2022, that the company did not have the money to provide enough supplies to the schools.
“It’s something that has been reoccurring and everybody has spoken about it. The minister is aware and all stakeholders are aware. The issue is money, and, since January, we have been finding a way to deal with the problem,” he added.
He told The Fourth Estate this just a day before the ministry’s denial of the food shortage in senior high schools.
When asked about how many suppliers the Buffer Stock Company owed, he said, “We are talking about suppliers across the country so it’s quite a number.”
He, however, assured the schools of getting food supplies by midweek to prevent a shutdown.
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