From Kumasi, the Education Directorate of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) has decided to increase the number of schools benefiting from the school feeding programme. The reason? Many pupils are being sent to the schools which are benefiting from the pilot scheme of the programme.
Certainly, many are those who would like to take advantage of the opportunity provided by the feeding programme, especially when it is a major problem for some parents to provide their children with nutritious food which can sustain them throughout the day.
Even for those who can afford that, economic pressures and the urge to move out of the house quickly to engage in some form of economic venture prevent them from doing so. So why not take advantage of the programme?
We concede that there are some urban poor in our midst who see the programme as God-sent. That is why the decision by the education directorate to expand the programme to cover more schools is laudable.
While it can be argued that children must not be sent to school just because of food packages, since education is a right, we also admit that if it is feasible for the feeding programme to be extended to more schools, there should be no discrimination.
A healthy mind, they say, is in a healthy body. Nutritious food does not only encourage proper growth but also enables children to think correctly.
The proponents of the school feeding programme have made an invaluable contribution to national growth and they must be commended for their foresight.
There is an added value to the programme, which is the use of locally produced foodstuffs to prepare the meals for the children.
Farmers in the areas where the programme is being implemented can, therefore, rest assured that their produce will be bought in time so that the post-harvest losses which have been associated with agricultural production over the years will reduce considerably.
It is our desire that the country would get the necessary resources to fund the programme to cover every school whose pupils need to be fed.
We are aware that funding the programme would mean that citizens must pay their taxes. Even though paying taxes is not a pleasant exercise, a good citizen everywhere must know that he/she has an obligation to do so.
The surest way by which individuals could support the noble programme is to pay all their taxes so that the government will be able to fall on them to fund the programme.
It has now been accepted that education holds the key to the development of the country. With that recognition, any programme designed to ensure that as many Ghanaian children as possible are in the classrooms and given quality education must be supported by all.
Records show that the Capitation Grant has also put a number of children into the classrooms. As we see it, but for the grant, many of those children may have been outside the classrooms.
As citizens, we have legitimate claims to any social programme which has been worked out for Ghanaians. Nevertheless, it is equally important that we pay whatever taxes we owe, so that the noble programmes could be sustained.