Takoradi — Pupils of Bedu Addo Methodist Basic School at Takoradi in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis of the Western Region have complained of 'bad' food being prepared for them by caterers under the School Feeding Programme.
The pupils made the complaint to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Children, Gender and Social Protection during their visit to the Western Region to interact with traditional rulers, School Feeding Programme officials and non-governmental organisations.
The pupils said the stew was tasteless, the food was always full of weevils and the banku not well prepared.
They revealed these after the committee had asked all the teachers and caterers to leave the classroom leaving only the pupils and the committee.
They also said the food prepared for them was a complete waste because the food never tasted like the food prepared in their various homes or food sold around the school campus.
They complained of leaking of the classrooms anytime it rains and inadequate school furniture.
According to them, there were more than 70 pupils in a class with three pupils sitting on a dual desk.
The Parliamentary Select Committee led by the chairman, Dr Appiah Kubi, Member of Parliament (MP) for Atwima Kwanwoma, the ranking member, Helena Ntoso (Krachi East), Johnson Adu (Ahafo Ano West), Alhassan Mumuni (Salaga North), Charles Bimtim (Saboba), and Hawab Wumbei (Tolon) were in the region to meet people on issues bordering on children, gender and social protection and the School Feeding Programme.
Addressing traditional rulers, officials from the education sector, non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders, Dr Appiah Kubi said the committee was not an audit team or to find fault with any group but to interact with all groups bordering on children, gender and the vulnerable in the society and report to Parliament and the Ministry for Children, Gender and Social Protection.
Dr Appiah Kubi pleaded with all stakeholders to try and be frank with their presentations so as to produce a credible report for the ministry and parliament.
The Acting Regional Director of Education, Mr Addo Dankwah Akuffo, indicated that the School Feeding Programme was directly under the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies and they never reported to him directly.
The Regional Officer for Children and Gender, Josephine Roman told the committee that 129 pupils were pregnant before writing the BECE with 24 being nursing mothers who wrote the BECE this year.
She said teenage pregnancy was high in the region and this was due to peer pressure, poor parenting leading to some pupils becoming pregnant through experiments adding "some parents encourage their girl child to come home with 'something'."
The chief of Essipun, Nana Kofi Abuna V advocated the enacting of punitive laws that could work because most of the laws were not biting so people never cared and this allowed the committing of crimes all over the country.
She said the day senior high schools with hostels far from the schools with little or no proper supervision of the girls were also a contributing factor to the many teenage pregnancies in the schools.
The committee later visited a number of schools including Bedu Addo Methodist School and the Sekondi School for the Deaf to interact with pupils and teachers especially on the School Feeding Programme.
Photo 4078 shows Dr Appiah Kubi speaking to pupils. In the background are members of the committee.