The youth association of Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region, Nabdam, Bongo and Talensi (BONABOTO), has demanded that government settles all feeding arrears owed second cycle schools in the three regions of the North before June 17, 2016 or incur their wrath.
Spokesperson for the group, Stanley Abopaam, accused government of wrongly prioritizing unnecessary projects to the detriment of second-cycle students in Northern Ghana, adding that government is prioritizing areas it will get votes from and neglecting areas that can guarantee the future of the country.
“There is no need for SADA, YEA among others, if feeding grants cannot be paid and have sources of funding for them. Compare SADA,YEA with Feeding grants, which of them bridges poverty properly. Is it educating our children or giving money to some people for working?,” he noted.
According to him, “We are prioritizing branding buses, paying contractors for no work done and in some cases shoddy works done. President Mahama is presenting over 500 vehicles to educational institutions, if there are no students in the secondary schools what will the buses be conveying, will they be conveying wood? What will be the use of education directors if there are no students in the schools but we are going to respond in a manner that government understands, if it demands that those SHS students come out on the streets of Northern Ghana, they will come out.”
Below is Full Press Statement by BONABOTO
BONABOTO has noted with deep sadness boarding students in all boarding Senior High Schools in the Upper East, Upper West and Northern Region have been sent home indefinitely as a result of non-payment of feeding grants for the past one year and more.
The perennial occurrence of this issue and its consequential effects on the entire Northern part of this country suggest that as an a nation, we have lost total focus on the undisputed fact that education is an essential ingredient in containing underdevelopment , poverty and above all the tendency for civil unrest as witnessed in other countries in Africa.
Over the past years, these young innocent Ghanaians have had to endure this deliberate marginalizing action or inaction by various governments, which have contributed to the widening development disparities in this country. It is therefore not entirely out of place for anyone to think that these actions are carefully crafted to keep the northern part of this country in perpetual underdevelopment and disdain.
Indeed as a country that duly acknowledged that there is a developmental gap between the north and south that ought to be bridged and that the best way to bridged this gap is through education, then, the occasion of this unfortunate but avoidable situation is a testament of bad faith from government, a deliberate marginalization tactic and an affront to our collective conscience as a nation.
BONABOTO wish to on this unfortunate note, call on the government to as a matter of urgency, settle all outstanding arrears owed the schools in the northern Ghana, while in the long run, consider a levy or tax policy solely dedicated to permanently funding the feeding grants as is done with GET Fund, Road fund and communication tax etc.
We wish to clearly state, should government fail to immediately respond positively to this issue to ensure that these kids get back to school next week, we will not hesitate to undertake a series of coordinated actions to pre4ss home this legitimate demand.
Mr. Stanley Abopaam
Reactions from GES
When contacted by Citinews on why SHS students were sent home until further notice Upper East Regional Director of Education Jane Sabina Obeng declined speaking on the issue adding that, she was not the ministry of finance and as such does not pay feeding grants.
Also, Upper East Regional chairperson of the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools Francisca Yinzura declined commenting on the issue stressing that the regional direction of education was the only authority to speak on the issue.