Everyone has a role to play in improving education. This starts with citizens, supported by civil society.
Orgainsations and research institutions who point out gaps in quality, equitable education.
In a number of countries, student movements have often swayed policies on equitable and affordable education, highlighting the power that we all share and must exercise to advance SDG 4, Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova notes in the foreword.
This forms part of this year’s preview to UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report, which focused mainly on accountability. The Report Shows also that not all accountability methods are currently helping achieve SDG 4.
The report notes: “Despite strong progress in education, there are significant challenges to achieving the global education goal, SDG 4: Children cannot read after several years of school in sub-Saharan Africa; examination pressure is having an impact on gender gaps in China”, etc.
The report looked also at school feeding Programmes in many countries across the globe, and notes that school meals are the world’s most widely-provided form of social protection (UNESCO, 2015a).
“The goal is two-fold: ensuring nutrition conducive to learning and future well-being and integrating education, health, environment and agriculture policies to facilitate greater socio-economic development and agricultural productivity”.
The report, which reviewed about 18 school-feeding policies globally, said school food provision requires transparency and clear lines of responsibility between government and private contractors.
Sadly, and obviously, the programme in Ghana is said to benefit only 21 percent of the poor because of the programme’s high level of politicization with caterer employed based on political affiliation which tends to devalue what is otherwise a brilliant social programme.
Caterers are not engaged on the basis of demonstrable and recognized catering ability; the fact that a political party has won power justifies it rewarding women in their fold with taking up food preparation for schoolchildren.
As a result, the food cooked for the children often lacks protein in the form of meat, fish or beans. Additionally, the money allotted to them cannot provide a decent meal for growing children and we believe nutritionists should be engaged to monitor the nutritional value of food prepared for schoolkids.
Coupled with the above, caterers who pre-finance the school feeding sometimes find it difficult to retrieve their investments which is a catalyst for corruption in the programme. With free SHS now rolled out, the need and urgency for transparency becomes even greater and more pronounced.