Pupils Enjoy Double Meals Under School Feeding Prog

The 750 pupils of the Methodist Model Primary School at Fiapre in the Sunyani West District of Brong-Ahafo enjoyed double meals under the school feeding programme when school re-opened on Tuesday. This was because two matrons had simultaneously cooked for the pupils. When the Ghana News Agency (GNA), visited the school at about 0930 hours, Mrs Faustina Addae, a matron, said she was engaged by the previous government whilst the other one, Mrs Gladys Bermah, said she was engaged by the District Assembly to start work on Tuesday. Mrs Bermah said management of the school had instructed her to serve the pupils with food during lunch time. Mrs Addae, on her part, said she signed a two year contract with the authorities of the programme four years ago and was renewed for another two years. She said during last term’s vacation, the district coordinator of the school feeding programme brought her a letter indicating that she should re-apply for the position she held but she refused to do so. “I have not been given any letter terminating my contract so I see no reason why I should re-apply and the programme even owes me GH˘ 6,000,” Mrs Addae said. She called on the government to continue with the school feeding programme and not to mingle it with partisan politics to ensure its sustainability. When contacted, Mrs Esther Afriyie, Headmistress of the school, confirmed that she advised Mrs Bermah to start work but expressed worry about the development. She however gave the assurance that the school management would contact the District Education Directorate for the amicable resolution of the matter. Mr Kwadwo Osei Asibey, District Chief Executive, told the GNA that the termination of the appointment of matrons who operated under the previous government was a national exercise undertaken by authorities of the school feeding programme. He said the assembly received a letter dated August 17, 2009 and signed by Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, directing all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies “to enter a contract with any caterer that the assembly had approved, using the model contract”. Mr Asibey said it was based on the letter that the assembly wrote to the matrons to re-apply but Mrs Addae refused to do so and Mrs Bermah applied and was appointed. He said the assembly also received a number of complaints from various sources including the school authorities and the Fiapre Traditional Council that Mrs Addae was not working up to expectation of the people as well as the school authorities. “I know that only one caterer has been engaged to cook for the pupils and if and when money is released only the recognized matron will be paid,” Mr Asibey said. Meanwhile there were reports that the situation was the same in some schools in Sunyani Municipality enjoying the school feeding programme as double matrons cooked for the pupils. A teacher who preferred anonymity told the GNA that the Methodist, Presbyterian and SDA primary schools at Chiraa and the Roman Catholic Primary school at Kobedi all had double matrons feeding the pupils on Tuesday. In another development, Mr Michael Nsiah-Agyapong, Public Relations Officer of the Sunyani Municipal Education Directorate, said 6,351 pupils were expected to be enrolled in kindergartens and primary schools in the municipality on the first day at school.