Expectations Of Ghana School Feeding Programme Education Essay

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The Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) which has been conceptualize to provide pupils at the public basic schools particularly those in the poorest areas of the country with one hot nutritious meal per day was designed to cover a period of five years starting from 2005 to 2010 in the first phase of its implementation. The programme, upon recommendation by the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) took off in September 2005 and was aimed at the achievement of the first three objectives of the MDG's which include: eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal basic education and promoting gender equality and women empowerment. The first phase of the Ghana School Feeding Programme was rolled out in 2007 with nationwide coverage in all the 170 districts. By the end of first quarter of the year 2011, the programme fed 713,590 children in all the beneficiary schools nationwide with central region alone accounting for 44,248 (GSFP 2011 Annual Operating Plan).

Ghana was one of the 10 countries in Africa including Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal and Zambia selected by the New Partnership for Africa's Development to implement domestically run school feeding programmes on pilot basis. The Ghana School Feeding Programme set for itself three key objectives which are to reduce hunger and malnutrition, increase school enrollment, attendance and retention and finally boost domestic food production by sourcing the Ghana school feeding programme meals locally and providing a sustainable market for local food providers in the community. The Ghana school feeding programme started on a pilot base in September, 2005 with 10 schools, one in each of the 10 regions of the country. The programme expanded to 200 schools covering 69000 pupils in all 138 districts of the country by August 2006 and by the end of the 2008, a total number of 596,501 kindergarten and primary school pupils were being fed daily (GSFP 2009 Annual Operating Plan).

Targets groups and districts

School feeding programme targets the following groups among the Ghanaian communities,

Deprived districts by growth and poverty reduction strategy (GPRS) classification

Poorest and the most food insecure districts

Low wealth level districts

Low school attendance rate (high absenteeism) districts

High school dropouts districts

Criteria for selection

The following criteria informed the government of Ghana in selecting schools and communities to be on the GSFP;

Willingness of the community to put up basic infrastructure (example, kitchen, storerooms and latrines) and contributes in cash or kind

Commitment of the district assemblies toward the programme and the level of readiness and interest towards the programme as well as the level of readiness and interest towards sustaining the programme

Poverty status based on Ghana living standard survey (GLSS) data and national development planning commission (NDPC) poverty mapping

Low school enrolment and/or attendance rate and gender parity

High school dropout rate

Low literacy level

Presence of planned provision and expansion of health and nutrition interventions

Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) is the oversight Ministry for the GSFP. Collaborative ministries in Ghana that ensure the sustainability of the GSFP include the Ministry of Education/Ghana Education Service, Ministry of Health/Ghana Health Service, Ministry of Food and Agriculture and Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning. Other active partners of the GSFP include the Dutch Embassy, World Food Program (WFP), Plan International Ghana, School Feeding Initiative Ghana Netherlands (SIGN), Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV), Social Enterprise Development Organisation (SEND Foundation) among others.

The programme initially was providing thirty Ghana pesewas per pupil per day for an average of 65 days within any school year but now increased to GH¢0.4 per pupil per day. The total budget for the first phase of the programme is estimated to cost US$211.70 million. A larger percentage of this amount is being borne by the Ghana government and the Dutch Embassy being the principal donor to the GSFP.

Different studies on the impact of school feeding programme have shown an increase in both gross primary school enrolment ratio (GPSER) and net primary school attendance ratio (NPSER) and an increase in school attendance rates (Ahmed, 2004; Bennett, et al., 2003; Del Rosso & Marek, 1996; Walingo & Musamali, 2008; Powell, et al., 1998). The fact that poorly nourished children benefit cognitively from GSFPs has also been demonstrated in several studies (Allen & Gillespie, 2001; Grantham-McGregor, et al., 1998; Levitsky, 2005). In these studies a significant improvement could be detected in school performance of undernourished children who received breakfast or lunch especially when compared with children in the control group who did not receive breakfast or lunch (Sabbi, et al., 2009).

Though high school performance by the pupils is supposed to be an indirect impact of school feeding on pupils enjoying the programme, there has been limited or insufficient research into the relationships between nutritional status, the participation in school feeding programs and school performance. Most of the evidence which shows improved school performance resulting from a school feeding programs is based on rather subjective evaluation. According to (Osei, et al., 2009) though the school feeding programme together with the capitation grant in the early periods of implementation in Ghana have chalked some gains, their impact on the quality of education is not well defined because any increase in enrolment resulting from these education subsidies puts added pressure on existing school facilities with adverse implications for the quality of education provided.

The study therefore seeks not only to find out whether the school feeding programme has had any positive impact on school enrolment and attendance, but also on the academic performance of the pupils in the basic Schools with GSFP and compare the findings with schools without GSFP in Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa District. Most studies on GSFP are cross sectional studies which looked at different pupils at the same period but this study is a longitudinal study which looks at the same pupils over a period. The differences observed in these pupils are less likely to be the result of cultural differences and because of this, any observable changes can be tracked easily and more accurate. This study monitors the school attendance and academic performance of selected pupils from class one through to class six and compared the scenario before the implantation of the GSFP to that after the implementation of the GSFP to find out the actual impact of school feeding programme on these pupils. The study continues to find out whether the increase in enrolment if any, has affected academic performance.

Conceptual Framework

School feeding in general terms represent a more varied and comprehensive set of uses of food for the achievement of educational outcomes (WFP, 2004). School feeding as it is practised in Ghana refers to the provision of hot meals at school during the school day.

This study proposes a conceptual framework that links school feeding programme to pupil enrolment and attendance as well as their academic performance. The school feeding programme is aimed at increasing school enrolment because it is believed that because poor parents could not provide food for their wards in school, these parents do not enroll their wards into schools. Even the poor parents, who do enroll their wards in schools, find it thorny to ensure that their wards attend and remain in school every day till the school closes because they cannot provide food for their wards in school every day through the term. The GSFP thus motivate parents to enrol their children in school and to see that they attend school regularly. It is thus the expectation that pupils' enrolment in schools that enjoy the GSFP show an increase as well as attendance and retention as this is supported by literature (Ahmed, 2004; Bennett, et al., 2003; Del Rosso & Marek, 1996; Walingo & Musamali, 2008; Powell, et al., 1998).

Tulane University Early Childhood Research Center in New Orleans did a more direct study of the learning ability of malnourished children in 1971 where learning ability was measured by practical learning tests, and a significant relationship was found between malnutrition and impaired learning ability and attributed this result to the difficulties of the malnourished children in maintaining attentiveness. Thus, early malnutrition was associated with abnormalities in brain development, behavioural disturbances, mental retardation (as measured by IQ tests or tests of intersensory integration), and impaired learning ability (Amcoff, 1980). There are other persuasive evidence that poor nutrition in early childhood affects cognitive development and learning potential (Jukes, et al., 2008). The thought that the GSFP is supposed to reduce hunger and malnutrition among the pupils on the programme and as a result improve the pupil's academic performance is very fragile. A study on the impact of the Ghana School feeding programme on Nutritional and Health status of Ghanaian pupils in the Central Region (where this research was conducted) by van den Berg (2008) indicates that although the school lunch significantly contributed to the diet diversity among children at GSFP schools, no differences were found between the whole day food consumption of GSFP children as compared to non-SFP children. Also, the study did not show that the nutritional and health status of the children in the Ghana SFP schools improved by serving them with one hot meal on every school day.

This research rather posits that the GSFP is supposed to lead to an increase in school attendance and retention, attentiveness in class and thus enhance the pupils' participation in the teaching and learning process which is latent and this is expected to have a positive impact on their academic performance. GSFP alleviate immediate short-term hunger and this is expected to increase pupil attentiveness in the class. Children who are not hungry are more attentive and have higher cognitive abilities (Simeon, 1998). Short-term hunger can adversely affect attention and interest of pupil (Levitsky, 2005).

Therefore school attendance and retention, attentiveness in class and enhancement of pupils' participation in the teaching and learning process lends credence to the expectation of improvement in academic performance. According to Adams & Hayes (2001), academic performance really means three things: The ability to study and remember facts, being able to study effectively and see how facts fit together and form larger patterns of knowledge and being able to think for yourself in relation to facts and thirdly being able to communicate your knowledge verbally or down on paper.

The GSFP can thus be said to be a laudable programme in promoting education for all in all aspect since its target is not only quantity but quality as well. Ghana's Poverty Reduction Strategies (GPRS) paper named the capitation grant and the school feeding programme as strategies towards meeting the quality needs of basic education.

It is based on this premise that the study seeks not only to find out whether the school feeding programme has had any positive impact on school enrolment, attendance and retention, but also on the academic performance of the pupils in the basic Schools in Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa District.

Methodology

Study area

Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa District is one of the 138 districts in Ghana that benefits from the GSFP. The district was created from the former Breman-Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam District. Its administrative capital is Breman Asikuma. The district is located in the north-central part of the Central Region and covers a geographical area of 884.84 square kilometers. It is within the semi-equatorial climatic zone and is covered by tropical rainforest. The average household size is 3-4. This varies in the individual communities. The more rural the community is, the larger the household size. There are more females in each household than males. The trend of migration in the District is basically rural-urban. This is primarily due to the rural nature of the District and the fact that attractive job opportunities are located mainly in the larger communities and the urban centres. Total population in the district is 89,395 (representing about 5.6% share of the Regional Population and 0.47% of the National Population figure (2000 Population Census) with annual population growth rate of 2.1%. Infant dependent population i.e. between the age of 0 and 19 years is 52.2% of District population.

The major economic activities are agriculture and fishing. Small-scale manufacturing also takes place in food-processing, ceramic wares, as well as salt and soap industries. The region is classified among the four poorest in the country.

The district is endowed with 36 early childhood, care and development centers, 66 primary schools carrying 13,604 pupils, 50 junior high schools carrying 4,486 pupils and 2 senior high schools with a total student population of 724 (GES, Asikuma 2009). There are also 3 vocational schools and a technical school in the district.

Sampling and sample size

The study was carried out in all the six basic schools benefiting from the GSFP in the Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa District and six other basic schools not benefiting from the programme within the same district to serve as control. Each of the control schools were selected based on its proximity to the schools with the GSFP. Within the schools simple random sampling technique was adopted in the selection of 10 pupils from each school. In all 120 sampling units were included in the study with 60 each from schools with GSFP and schools without GSFP.

Data

Structured questionnaires were deployed in the collection of data. These questionnaires were administered to the school authorities of the selected pupils.

The data collected consist of the pupils scores (sample units) in the third term examinations in English language, mathematics and integrated science subjects from 2004/05 to 2009/10 academic years. The third term was chosen because pupils are promoted based on third term examinations results. The academic years, 2004/2005 to 2009/10 was also considered because the GSFP started in the district in 2006/2007 academic year and to allow for good analysis it is prudent to analyze the results before and after the implementation of the programme. Data collected also included the total attendance made by the selected pupils in all the classes from 2004/05 to 2009/10 academic year and the number of days opened for attendance in the academic years by the various schools. Other data collected was the yearly enrolment figures of pupils in the various schools over the years. There was another questionnaire that asked the selected pupils to rate how attentive they were in class during lessons; before and after the break on a scale of 1 to 10.

The data collected was analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Solutions, (SPSS) application software version 16.

Method of analysis

Descriptive statistics was the main method used in the analysis. The average yearly scores in English language, mathematics and science subjects obtained by each pupil in each school were calculated. These scores were plotted against the academic years to depict the trend in the performance of the pupils over the years. With attendance, the number of days each pupil attended school was divided by the total number of days opened for attendance by each school in the academic years. The attendance of each pupil per the total number of days opened for attendance in an academic year is plotted against the academic years.

Using the year 2000 population of the district (89,395) and the growth rate (2.1), the population of the district over the years were estimated. This yearly population figures were then deployed in the estimation of enrolment per 10,000 population in the district. The enrolment per 10,000 population was then plotted against the number the academic years.

Results

This commence with schools which benefited from the school feeding programme. This is followed by schools without the programme and finally compares these results.

Impact on enrolment in schools benefiting from GSFP

A look at all the schools under study in which the GSFP has been implemented reveals that, enrolment per ten thousand population increased from 34.98 in 2004/05 to 35.34 in 2005/06 academic year. The figure fell in 2006/07 and thereafter begun to increase again. The school feeding program was introduced in the 2006/2007 and after its implementation, enrolment rate kept rising till in the 2008/09 academic year depicting the positive impact of GSFP on pupils enrolment. However the enrolment per ten thousand population plummeted in 2009/10 academic year after which it went up again in 2010/11. The findings confirm earlier findings (Ahmed, 2004; Bennett, et al., 2003; Del Rosso & Marek, 1996; Walingo & Musamali, 2008; Powell, et al., 1998; Sabbi, et al., 2009) who attest to an increase in both gross primary school enrolment ratio (GPSER) and net primary school enrolment ratio (NPSER) and an increase in school attendance rates due to GSFP.

Figure 1: Pupil Enrolment in schools with GSFP

Impact on pupils Attendance in schools benefiting from GSFP

Figure 2 below shows the attendance of the pupil per days opened by schools to pupils. The lowest attendance per school open days (0.70) was recorded in class one and the next lowest value (0.76) was recorded in class three.

Figure 2: Pupil school Attendance in schools with GSFP

This was the academic year in which the school feeding programme was implemented. After the implementation of the GSFP, the attendance per school open days increased to 0.85 in 2007/2008 when the pupils were in class four. This increase can be attributed to the introduction of the GSFP in the various schools in the previous academic year. This figure though plummeted in the following academic year (2008/2009) to 0.81 when the pupils were in class five but still higher than that of the year of implementation increased again to 0.83 in 2008/2009 academic year when the pupils were in class six. This illustrate that the attendance by pupil per open days for the schools improved significantly after the implementation of the program. The increase of attendance rate from 0.70 in 2004/2005 to 0.82 in 2005/2006 academic year when the pupils where in class two is quite amazing since the school feeding program had not yet been introduced.

Impact on academic performance in schools benefiting from GSFP

The academic performance of the pupils from schools benefiting from GSFP is shown in Figure 3. In 2004/05 academic years when the pupils enrolled in class one, the average mark the pupil obtained in English, Mathematics and Integrated Science in the third term examinations was 57.3 percent and 2005/06 academic year when pupils were in class two, the average mark increased to 57.7 percent. In 2006/07 academic year (class three), the average marks increased significantly by 8.7% over the previous year to 62.7 percent. This was the year in which the school feeding programme was implemented. It is a reflection of the impact of the GSFP on the academic performance of the pupils. The rising trend continued in 2007/08 after which it started a downward trend in the following years to 63.2 percent in 2009/10 but even that, the average mark was still higher than the year before its implementation.

Figure 3: Average Yearly Marks of Pupils in schools with GSFP

Schools without GSFP

In order to establish the fact that GSFP has had positive effect on enrolment, attendance and performance, data from schools not enjoying the GSFP was also collected and analyzed to enhance a comparative study. Starting with the pupil enrolment, the enrolment per 1000 population was highest (12.9) in 2004/05 academic year and then started dwindling over the years to 8.45 in 2010/11 academic year. This is shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4: Pupil Enrolment in schools without GSFP

The attendance of pupil per school's open days (Figure 5) was somehow stable within the period under review apart from the 2007/08 academic year. The attendance of pupil per school's open days was 0.80, 0.82 and 0.81 in 2004/05, 2005/06 and 2006/07 academic years respectively. In 2007/08 the attendance per open day increased piercingly under unexplained circumstances by almost 21% to 0.98 after which it plummeted to 0.77 in 2008/09 and ended at 0.79 in 2009/10 academic year.

Figure 5: Pupil school Attendance in schools without GSFP

In 2004/05 academic year when the pupils enrolled in class one, the average mark the pupil obtained in English, Mathematics and Integrated Science in the third term examinations was 51.1 percent (Figure 6). In class two, the average mark increased to 50.6 percent and then to 53.4 percent in 2006/07 academic year when pupils were in class three after which average mark was almost stable in class four, five and six.

Figure 6: Average Yearly Marks of Pupils in schools without GSFP

A comparative analysis and discussion

A comparative analysis between the schools enjoying from GSFP and those not enjoying GSFP within the same district was done to envisage the substantial impact of GSFP on schools enjoying the GSFP when compared with those schools not enjoying from the program.

Enrolment

Figure 7 depicts the enrolment trends of both schools (those enjoying the GSFP and those not enjoying) the two lines diverge gradually from 2001/02 academic year towards the 2010/11 academic year. As the enrolment per ten thousand population in the schools with the GSFP programme increased over the years, that of the schools without GSFP programme decreased over the years.

The increase in the enrolment per ten thousand population in the schools with the GSFP could be attributed to the GSFP. It could be concluded that the GSFP has had a positive impact on school enrolment. It must be emphasized that class-sizes have been identified as determinants of academic performance. The increase in enrolment without commensurate increase in infrastructure may have a negative effect on academic performance. Studies have actually indicated that schools with smaller class sizes perform better academically than schools with larger class sizes. Kraft (1994) in his research concludes that class sizes above 40 have negative effects on students' achievement.

Figure 7: Pupil Enrolment in schools with/without GSFP

Class supervision and control can only be effective when the population is minimal and this in turn promotes teaching and learning process. Fabunmi and Okore (2000), posits that class size, pupil-teacher ratio and the school population are major factors of performance in most of our schools.

Attendance

The next is pupils' attendance per number of days open for school attendance by the various schools which is display in Figure 8. In class one, the attendance of pupil in the schools without GSFP was 80% as against 70% attendance of by pupil in the schools without GSFP. In class three (2006/07 academic year), when the GSFP was implemented in the schools, the attendance in the school without GSFP was 81% which was still higher as compared to 76% of attendance in schools with GSFP. The picture became clearer in class four when attendance in schools without GSFP improved by almost 21% to 0.98 attendance per open day whilst schools with GSFP improved by only 12% 0.85. In class five, the attendance of pupils in both schools nosedived and improved again in class six. In class five and six, the attendance of pupil with GSFP was higher (0.81 and 0.83 respectively) than pupil with GSFP (0.77 and 0.79 respectively). The picture depicts that though GSFP have a positive impact on pupils' school attendance which is the cases in class four, five and six since the attendance in these classes were higher than that of class three which was the year in which the GSFP was implemented, the case in class four of schools without GSFP shows that there is more to attendance than simply GSFP. Though the GSFP had a positive impact on attendance in schools on the programme, there are other compelling factors that positively influenced the attendance of pupils in schools not on the programme.

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, categorised factors that contribute to truancy into school, family, economic and students factors. Under school, factors such as a school's size and the attitudes of administrators, teachers, and other students, as well as the degree to which a school is flexible in meeting the diverse cultural and learning styles of students were mentioned. The most important attribute being the approach to which a school tries to unravel the truancy problem among their students. Family factors included poverty, domestic violence, lack of familiarity with school attendance laws, varied education priorities and lack of parental supervision and/or guidance which is very important especially considering the age of pupils (Virginia Department of Education, 2005).

Figure 8: Pupil school Attendance in schools with/without GSFP

Academic performance

The average mark the pupil obtained in English, Mathematics and Integrated Science in the third term examinations of schools with and without GSFP is presented in Figure 9. The trendline of marks over the years of schools with GSFP has a steeper gradient as compared with that of schools without GSFP indicating that academic performance of pupil in schools with GSFP was better than schools without GSFP. Though in class one, the average mark of pupil in schools with GSFP was higher (57.3) than schools without GSFP (51.1) indicating that perhaps pupils in the schools with GSFP were more brilliant than their counterparts in the schools without GSFP, in class three, but when the GSFP was implemented, the improvement in academic performance in schools with GSFP was 8.7% over the previous year and this trend continued whilst that of schools without GSFP improved by only 3.5%. The improvement in academic performance of pupils in schools with GSFP attests to the fact that GSFP has had a positive impact on academic performance.

Figure 9: Average Yearly Marks of Pupils in schools with/without GSFP

Aside GSFP, there are other factors that affect pupils academic performance. Sogbetun (1981) established that different factors are capable of influencing the academic performance of students. Such factors may be the student's internal state (intelligence, state of health, motivation, anxiety etc.) and their environment (availability of suitable learning environment, adequacy of educational infrastructure like textbooks). In the views of Hassan (1983), intellectual ability, poor study habit, achievement motivation, lack of vocational goals, low self-concept, low socio-economic status of the family, poor family structure and anxiety are factors influencing academic performance. Ausubel (2000) also states that young children are capable of understanding abstract ideas if they are provided with sufficient materials and concrete experience with the phenomenon that they are to understand.

Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA)

Multivariate analysis of variance is an extension of analysis of variance used when there is more than one dependent variable. MANOVA compares the groups and tells whether the mean differences between the groups on the combination of dependent variables are likely to have occurred by chance. Multivariate analysis of variance was performed using SPSS to find out if there is a significant difference between the GSFP (schools with and without) as the dependent variable and pupil academic performance, pupil attentiveness in class, pupil School Attendance and pupil school enrolment as independent variables.

A Wilks' Lambda value of .118, which is significant at 1% (table 1), show that there is a statistically significant difference between schools with GSFP and schools without GSFP in terms of pupil academic performance, pupil attentiveness in class and pupil school enrolment. This is also confirmed in the Table 2 with the exception of pupil's school attendance which did not show any statistically significant difference between schools with GSFP and schools without GSFP.

Table 1: Multivariate Testsb of school feeding programme

Effect

Value

F

Hypothesis df

Error df

Sig.

Partial Eta Squared

Status_Prog

Pillai's Trace

.882

2.154E2a

4.000

115.000

.000

.882

Wilks' Lambda

.118

2.154E2a

4.000

115.000

.000

.882

Hotelling's Trace

7.494

2.154E2a

4.000

115.000

.000

.882

Roy's Largest Root

7.494

2.154E2a

4.000

115.000

.000

.882

a. Exact statistic

b. Design: Intercept + Status_Prog

The importance of the impact of GSFP on and pupil academic performance, pupil attentiveness in class, pupil School Attendance and pupil school enrolment was evaluated using the effect size statistic provided by SPSS.

Table 2: Tests of Between-Subjects Effects

Source

Dependent Variable

Type III Sum of Squares

df

Mean Square

F

Sig.

Partial Eta Squared

Status of

School feeding

Programme

Performance of pupils

3403.740

1

3403.740

78.267

.000

.399

Attendance of pupils

109.061

1

109.061

.106

.746

.001

pupils attentiveness in class

488.033

1

488.033

327.328

.000

.735

Enrolment of pupils

17491.845

1

17491.845

357.875

.000

.752

a. R Squared = .399 (Adjusted R Squared = .394) b. R Squared = .001 (Adjusted R Squared = -.008) c. R Squared = .735 (Adjusted R Squared = .733)

d. R Squared = .752 (Adjusted R Squared = .750)

Partial Eta Squared represents the proportion of the variance in the dependent variables that can be explained by the independent variable. The Partial Eta Squared values of 0.399, 0.735, and 0.752 according to the generally accepted criteria (Cohen, 1988), are large effects or relative high magnitude of variances in pupil academic performance, pupil attentiveness in class and pupil school enrolment respectively explained by the GSFP. The Partial Eta Squared value of pupils' attendance was 0.001 and was not statically significant.

Conclusion

This study though from a different perspective confirms earlier findings on schools in which school feeding programme has been implemented. The study found that GSFP impacted positively on school attendance and attentiveness in class which enhanced pupils' participation in the teaching and learning process lending to improvement in their academic performance. Pupil's school attendance did not show any statistically significant difference between schools with GSFP and schools without GSFP and this call for more focused measures to ensure that pupil attend school regularly. The Partial Eta Squared values of 0.399 of pupil academic performance explained by the GSFP means that there is the need to consider other factors that positively influence the academic performance to augment GSFP in order to achieve better results.

The issue is not only about quantity alone but it is also about quality. Ghana Government document; titled Coordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies presented to parliament in 2010 pointed to the fact that indicators of education show that the effective demand for education has improved especially at the basic school level. At the primary school level, gross and net enrolments have been quite impressive and stood at 95.2% and 83.4% respectively in 2008. The survival or completion rate in basic schools increased from 83.2% in 2004 to 85.4% in 2007. In spite of these successes, indicators further suggest that the quality of education is declining. The pupil teacher ratio increased from 30 in 1998 to 34.0 in 2008. In other words, each teacher had an additional 4 pupils to teach. On the pupil to core textbook ratio, the number of pupils sharing one core textbook increased from 2 in 2002 to 3 in 2005. These trends suggest that while the number of people accessing education in Ghana may have increased over the years, the quality levels may not have improved. All stakeholders should play their part in reversing this trend.

It has been shown that there are other compelling factors that positively influenced the attendance of pupils in schools other than the GSFP. On their part, parents should have time for their wards and ensure that their wards do not cultivate the habit of truancy and also make time available to assist them in their academic assignments. Parents should make some conscious effort in investing in their ward's education by way of providing them with the needed learning materials. Teachers on their part, are to ensure discipline in classrooms and employ child - centred techniques in their lessons delivery so as to ensure pupil full participation in the teaching and learning process. Teachers should cultivate the habit of the use of teaching aids since young children are capable of understanding abstract ideas if they are provided with sufficient materials. The government together with the schools authorities should provide suitable learning environment, adequacy of educational infrastructure like textbooks since these have been found to influence academic performance of students. In addition to the school feeding programme which is a laudable idea, policies which will ensure high quality of teaching and learning such as teacher motivation, good condition of service for the education sector as well as proper supervision and management will go a long way to improve not only quantity but quality of education as well.

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