Teachers in Old Akrade Basic School in the Eastern Region are forced to contribute monies from their own pocket to feed some of their pupils who are not able to pay a daily feeding fee of Gh¢1.00.
Parents of some of these children who used to engage in brisk business at the bank of the Volta Lake have now returned to their regular farming.
This has left a heavy toll on the pupils of the Old Akrade Basic School.
Old Akrade used to bustle with business; from sachet water to abolo, fish, fried turkey tails on sale to the many people who travelled mainly between Ho and Accra who had to cross the Volta Lake using the pontoon due to the closure of the Adormi bridge for repair works.
During the era of the pontoon, indigenes of the area had the luxury of dropping their hoes and cutlasses to engage in some form of petty trading, affording them money to cater for themselves and their children.
In 2015 however, the repair work on the Adomi bridge was completed and the pontoon was taken away and life returned to ground zero.
The indigenes have now returned to the agrarian economic cycle which does not yield cash on a regular basis and those feeling the impact are the children in the Old Akrade Basic School who either go hungry or walk considerable distances to eat at home during break time.
Some children who interacted with Citi News narrated how difficult it is for their parents to give them GHS1.00 to buy food under the school’s own school feeding program.
Jessica, a class 1 pupil, said her “mother, a single parent, often does not have GHS1.00 to give” her in to feed in school.
The story of John, also a class 1 pupil, is no different. He is compelled to walk approximately three miles home during break time every day to have meals.
On the day of Citi News‘ visit, his mother had not finished preparing the soup with which he will eat banku so he had to make a choice to either wait for the meal and miss lessons in class or return to class on an empty stomach. He chose the latter.
A teacher for combined classes 1 and 2, Prince Gamey Kisson, said: “It is difficult to teach hungry children who could barely hold up their concentrations during lessons, forcing them to intervene for some of these children.”
Headteacher of the Old Akrade basic school, Prosper Adzimani, said efforts to get the deprived school rolled onto the national school feeding program are yet to yield any results.
He, however, noted that the school decided to start its own school feeding program which serves meals to the children for as low as GHS1.00. He said enrolment, especially at the lower primary level, improved drastically with the feeding program.
The student Chaplain, Mawuenyefia Megbeawotor, appealed to the authorities to “pay some attention to the Old Akrade Basic School” which he said, “is very deprived”. He said pupils at the upper primary and JHS levels are compelled to use a single textbook per subject, a situation that is “impacting negatively on the academic work of the students”.