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Effects of the school feeding programme

The government of Ghana has recognized basic education as a fundamental building block of the economy. This step is in line with goal two of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which seeks to achieving a universal primary education by the year 2015 (Ghana MDG Report, 2009). Also, in congruence with GPRS II (GPRS, 2006), Article 38 of the 1992 constitution enjoins government to provide access to Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (fCUBE) to all children of school going age (Constitution of Ghana, 1992). In pursuance of this requirement, a number of plans and programmes have been launched with the government embarking upon several educational reforms and instituting new policy measures toward making education more accessible to all. These include the fCUBE programme, education strategic plan, the capitation grant; which makes basic school free from any form of school fees and the NEPAD School Feeding Programme (SFP) (ESP, 2003).

It is important to note that access to education is not an end in itself, but a means to an end. The end results of the education process is that it should translate into quality human capital/resource for the state as the GPRSII envisions, hence, the zeal of governments to invest in the education of their people.

The capitation grant generally should result in higher enrolment and retention in schools. The school feeding program complements this by providing for the pupils nutritional needs and enhancing their learning capabilities. All these should translate into higher performance by pupils and for that matter, the production of quality human resource required for state development.

It should be noted that, before the introduction of the governments’ school feeding programme, the Catholic Relief Service (CRS,) had already instituted the policy of feeding school children in the district. This aside, the institution of the Northern Scholarship Scheme had also been in place in the district since the late 1950s, taking care of the feeding cost of students in Senior High Schools in the district. These had made significant impact on education of the area. In fact, many professors and educated elites in the district owe their current status to these schemes (Nadowli West District, 2008)

THE PROBLEM STATEMENT

The introduction of the government school feeding programme was to supplement other interventions such as free school uniform and capitation grants. It has since played a crucial role alongside the other interventions in improving both Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) and Net Enrolment Ratio (NER) in schools in Ghana. The Upper West Region in general, recorded GER increase of 74.1% from (1991/1992 – 2002/2003), 77.3% from (2002/2003 – 2004/2005) and 81.1% (2004/2005 – 2005/2006) (RSER-UWR, 2006)

Despite the increases in the enrolment figures, deprived areas in Ghana continue to encounter serious difficulties in attracting trained teachers; classroom accommodation continues to be a problem with access to teaching and learning materials remaining a headache to stakeholders. These negatively affect the quality of education in these areas including the Nadowli West District.

The rise in enrolment figures with no corresponding increase in the number of teachers usually lead to disproportionate Pupils-Teacher Ratio (PTR). Overcrowding in classrooms also becomes phenomenal of such situations with increased enrolment with little attention to the construction classrooms in response to the increasing numbers which does not only sometimes lead to the outbreak of diseases but also affects quality of teaching adversely.

This paper thus intends to assess the effects that the school feeding program has brought to bear on primary school education in the Nadowli West District

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

Main Question

What are the effects of the school feeding programme on primary school education in the Nadowli West District?

Sub-Questions

How has the SFP affected primary school enrolment in the district?

How has the SFP affect pupil retention in schools in the district?

What has been its implication on the PTR?

What have been its effects on classrooms and other teaching and learning materials (TLM)?

Are there lessons for policy formulations?

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

Main Objective

To find out the effects of the school feeding programme on primary school education in Nadowli West District?

Sub-Objectives

To determine how the SFP has affected primary school enrolment in the district

To investigate how the SFP has affected pupil retention in school

To find out the implications of the SFP on PTR

To discover its effects on classrooms and TLMs

To draw lessons for policy formulation

RELEVANCE OF THE STUDY

Through findings of the study, stakeholders will be well informed of the relevance or otherwise of the SFP on primary education in the district. Positive outcome will get them committed to success and sustainace of the programme. Also, negative effects of the programme if found will also be addressed.

Aside serving as base data for further research work on the topic, findings of the study will help in policy formulation on the programme.

ORGANIZATION OF THE RESEARCH REPORT

The study report will be organized into six chapters as follows for clear presentation.

The general introduction of the study will go into this chapter. The chapter will also contain the problem statement, research questions and objectives, justification of the study and a brief profile of the study area.

Chapter two is the review of literature on the topic. It will try conceptualizing and defining issues that relate to the study and put them in perspective. It will try to explore and fill gaps in existing literature available on the study.

Chapter three will examine the methodology employed in the study for the collection of data. How data collected is analyzed and presented will also be made clear in this chapter.

Findings of the study and the discussions on it will be presented in chapter four of the report. This will also take care of secondary data analysis on the study. Illustrations with tables, figures charts and diagrams will be made for easier understanding and interpretation of findings.

Summaries of findings, conclusion and recommendations will be presented in the fifth and last chapter of the report.

LITERATURE REVIEW

The literature review aims at exploring for areas of agreements and disagreements on the topic. From this, exiting gaps will be identified and efforts made to fill them.

The review will cover areas like: impact of education related interventions, the history of school feeding in Ghana, Ghana education policy framework, recent education related interventions in Ghana and the SFP (arguments and against). See a sample review below.

Impact of Education Related Interventions: A Review of the Literature

Countries worldwide are making good and encouraging progress towards reducing the number of

out-of-school children. Specifically Sub-Saharan Africa has witnessed an unprecedented 25%

increase in enrolment between 1998/99 and 2002/03 (ADEA, 2007). Countries in Sub-Saharan

Africa have been exploring ways of improving their education systems in order to achieve their

commitment to education for all. Ensuring that children have access to free, compulsory and

good quality primary education is receiving considerable attention from governments and aid

agencies alike. Two main systems through which certain governments are using to achieve this

aim are the abolition of school fees and the School Feeding Programme. Many studies have been

conducted on the effects of these systems on education outcomes.

Abolition of School Fees and Education Outcomes

Abolition of school fees especially at the basic education level has been adopted by many

countries as one of the key policy interventions for influencing education outcomes. Fees

charged at schools especially public schools, have been identified as one of the main barriers to

education access especially among the poor, orphane d, and vulnerable children within societies

(USAID, 2007). There are two schools of thought on school fees’ abolition in the literature.

1 This is based on a current exchange rate of GHC1=US$1

2

Proponents of School Fees Abolition

The main argument advanced by proponents of school fees’ abolition is that, school fees and

other direct education related costs to households represent a significant obstacle to enrolment

especially among the poor and vulnerable households (USAID, 2007). Abolishing school fees

will therefore make it easier and less costly for children with these challenging backgrounds to

enroll in schools and eventually help in achieving some of the education related goals within

countries.

Malawi represents one of the first countries to adopt the policy of school fees abolition. Other

countries in Africa that have also abolished school fees in the 2000s include Lesotho, Kenya,

Tanzania, Zambia (Al-Sammarra et al., 2006) and Ghana. As a result of abolishing school fees in

Malawi, enrolment rates is reported to have increased dramatically at both the primary and the

secondary levels and the impact of this increment was very biased in favour of the poor (Al-

Samarrai et al., 2006 and USAID, 2007). Abolition of the school fees in Uganda nearly led to a

doubling in enrolment figures in the year after the abolition. Similar increases in enrolment rates

following school fees abolition were also realized in Tanzania in 2001, Lesotho in 2000 and

Cameroun 1999 (USAID, 2007). Of outmost importance within these enrolment figures are

nrolment rates among the disadvantaged children (girls, orphans, and children in rural areas)

which experienced rapid increases and thereby widening access to education.

Arguments Against School Fees Abolition

The other school of thought against school fees abolition states that abolishing school fees does

contribute to reduction in the direct cost of education but does not necessarily reduce the costs to

zero (USAID, 2007). There are other costs, aside school fees, that are still borne by households.

These costs include those on transportation to and from school, contribution of households to

construction of school buildings and other management costs, cost of textbooks and other

support given to teachers by households. In line with this argument, any intervention should

critically take into consideration the totality of all these costs borne by households and not only

school fees.

Abolishing school fees, although identified to have a positive effect on enrolment, may have a

negative effect on the quality of education (USAID, 2007). The increase in enrolment figures

following school fees abolition are more likely to overwhelm the available supply of schools,

teachers, and education materials available within schools. In Malawi for instance, after the

abolition of school fees, the ratio of pupils to classroom increased to 119:1, the ratio of pupils to

teachers also increased to 62:1 and the ratio of pupils to text books increased to 24:1. Similarly,

expenditure per-pupil fell approximately by $12 per year for primary school student s (USAID,

2007).

In most instances, the rise in enrolment figures resulting from school fees abolition is likely to

increase the number of pupils per teacher or a phenomenal rise in the number of newly recruited

and untrained or barely trained teachers. This is likely to affect the quality of teaching in the

classroom.

Anecdotal evidence from Malawi indicates that elimination of school fees reduces the

willingness of communities to provide voluntary support for local schools as local leaders

3

interpret abolition of school fees as central government’s assumption of full financial

responsibility. Voluntary community support is a very important contribution to schools

especially in the rural and deprived communities.

Education Policy Framework in Ghana

The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana under Article 25 (1) guarantees the right of all

persons to equal educational opportunities and facilities by ensuring free, compulsory and

universal basic education. The provision under the Constitution also ensures that secondary and

higher education shall be made available and accessible to all by every appropriate means, and in

particular, by progressive introduction of free education. Functional literacy is also ensured

under the constitution and provision is made for resourcing schools at all levels with adequate

facilities.

Aside the constitutional provisions, the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) II recognizes

education as the key to moving the country towards a middle income status by 2015 and as a

result, identifies the development of human capital as one the three thematic areas of the plan.

Aside aiming to meet goal 2 of the MDGs, the GPRS II also aims to strengthen the quality of

education especially at the basic level, improve the quality and effic iency in the delivery of

education services and bridge the gender gap in terms of education access in the country.

In 2003, the Education Strategic plan (ESP) based on the Poverty Reduction Strategy came into

force and it covered the period 2003-2005. The Strategic Plan operated within the framework of

a sector wide approach (SWAp) for education and this was situated partly within the multi-donor

budgetary support (MDBS) framework (Adam-Issah et al., 2007). The ESP which provided the

framework or roadmap for achieving the education related MDGs was based on four key areas:

equitable access, education management and Science and technology and Vocational education.

There were ten policy goals to the ESP and this covered increasing access to and participation in

education and training, improving the quality of teaching and learning for enhanced pupil/student

achievement, promoting good health and environmental sanitation in schools and institutions ,

among others.

The Government of Ghana in 2004 came out wit h a White Paper on Education Reforms which

outlines reforms and objectives spanning the entire education sector. This catalogue of reforms

and objectives are to be implemented from 2007 and the major targets identified are to be

realized in 2015 and 2020. The White Paper on Education Reform has two key objectives. First it

builds on the commitments of the ESP as well as ensures that high quality education is provided

to children at the basic level. Secondly, it aims at ensuring that all second cycle education is

made more inclusive and appropriate to the needs of young people and the demands of the

Ghanaian economy (Ministry Of Education Science and Sports [MOESS], 2005).

Under the Government of Ghana White Paper on Education Reform, basic education was

expanded to include 2 years of kindergarten as well as the existing 6 years of primary education

and 3 years of Junior High School education. The entire basic education will continue to be free

and compulsory and will receive highest priority of all sub-sectors. The White Paper also pledges

the government’s full support for basic education funding. The central target is to reach 100

percent completion rates for both males and females at all basic levels by 2015.

4

The White Paper in building upon the ESP indicators identifies new areas which will facilitate

the achievement of the education sector goals. As a result, some of the education sector targets in

the ESP due to be achieved in the year 2015 are set to be achieved earlier in 2012. For instance,

in relation to the Greater Accra Region entry into Primary 1, wasoriginally projected to reach

100 percent by 2010 in the ESP, had been revised and was now expected to be achieved in

2006/2007. Also, Primary 6 completion rate originally expected to reach 100 percent by 2015 is

now expected to be achieved by 2010. Finally, Gross Enrolment for Primary education is now

scheduled to reach 107.4 percent by 2012 (MOESS, 2006).

Recent Education Related Interventions in Ghana

Ghana has been able to make some strides in its education system through certain policy

initiatives. These initiatives have goals that have been expressed in policy frameworks and

reports like the GPRS I & II and the Education Strategic Plan (ESP). The Government of Ghana

has also committed itself to the achievement of Universal Primary Education (MDG 2) by

ensuring that by 2015 children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full

course of primary schooling. The government’s commitment towards achieving the educational

goal is reflected in these policy frameworks. In accordance with these frameworks, certain policy

strategies like the capitation grant and the school feeding program, early childhood development

and gender parity were adopted. In accordance with the constitution of the Fourth Republic of

Ghana, the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) was implemented.

As laudable as this intervention was it has not been able to make the expected impact because of

the cost sharing principles that went with it. Fees and levies were still being charged under the

FCUBE program. The charging of these fees was thought to be impacting negatively the

attendance of school children at the basic level. The Ministry of Education therefore decided to

implement the Capitation Grant Scheme to increase access to education. The policy of school

fees abolition in the form of giving grants to schools is known as the capitation grant in Ghana.

The Capitation Grant

In recent years, there has been a worldwide momentum in which more developing countries are

moving to sustain and reinforce the renewed progress toward Universal Primary Education

through bolder, accelerated and scaled strategies. School fees abolition is becoming increasingly

acknowledged as one of these strategies and as a ke y measure to achieving children’s right to

education. In view of this, the World Bank and UNICEF in 2005 launched the School Fee

Abolition Initiative which aimed to disseminate lessons from the experience of countries that

have abolished fees and provide context -specific advice to countries that are seeking to do so.

Experience in several countries shows that the private costs of schooling are a major barrier that

prevent many children from accessing and completing a quality basic education. They are

especially burdensome in countries where poverty imposes tough choices on families and

households about how many and which children to send to school, and for how long. School fees

represent a regressive taxation on poor families, and the enrolment of poor, excluded and

vulnerable children is very sensitive to fees, even when these are small.

School fee abolition is not just about “tuition fees” (which do not necessarily constitute the main

bulk of fees). School fee abolition must take into consideration the wide range of the costs of

the history of SFP in Ghana, school enrolment, PTR in Ghana, the impact of feeding in schools among others.

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

This chapter examines the methodology that will be employed in the study for the collection of data. Data analysis techniques and the mode of presentation of findings are both treated here.

Data collection tools

Both probability and non probability data collection tools will be employed in the collection of primary data in the study. Specifically, I will use surveys, semi-structured interviews and observations. The surveys will be used to solicit general information from the respondents on their views on the topic such as on the effects of the SFP on the rate of enrolment. The surveys will also yield quantitative data.

The interviews will be used to generate qualitative, specific and in-depth facts about the study. The observation will be used gain first hand information on the study.

Sources of data

The study will collect data from teachers, parents, pupils, caterers of the programme, and staff from the district directorate of education.

Secondary sources of data such as newspapers, article and internet sources will be made use of. Records of enrolment before and during the SFP will also be used for comparisons.

Sampling techniques

The simple random sampling technique will be applied to the list of the primary schools in the district to select seven of them for the study. This technique will ensure that biases are minimized as much as possible in the selection of the schools. The same technique will be used for the selection of teachers and pupils for the study. Questionnaires of the surveys will be administered to 100 teachers, 20 pupils and 30 parents in the district.

I will also use purposive sampling to collect data from five officials of the district education directorate (the district director, the officer in charge of statistics, the planning officer, director of human resource and a circuit supervisor). Seven caterers will also be surveyed. In all, 162 questionnaires will be administered.

The education officials, caterers and some of the teacher will also be interviewed after the surveys.

Data analysis and presentation

Qualitative data collected will be summarized into themes, analyzed and interpreted by the use of descriptive techniques. Quantitative data analysis will be done using computer programmes like the SPSS.

Tables, charts and graphs would be used to illustrate and present findings for easier understanding and interpretation.

TIME FRAME

A maximum of 11 months will be used for the entire research work as indicated in the table below.

ACTIVITY

TIME PERIOD

Literature review

July and August, 2010

Designing questionnaires

September,2010

Data collection

October to December, 2010

Data analysis

January and February, 2011

Report writing

March and April, 2011

Binding and submission

May, 2011

BUDGET

An estimated amount of One Thousand, One Hundred Ghana Cedis will be required for the research activity. See breakdown in the table below.

ACTIVITY

COST (GH₵)

Using the internet and buying of relevant materials for literature review

60.00

Typing and printing questionnaire

20.00

Data collection

50.00

Transportation

100.00

Communication

50.00

Printing and binding of report

820.00

TOTAL

1,100.00

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