According to academic calendar, schools operates for thirty nine weeks out of the fifty two weeks of the year that is thirteen weeks per term which translates to one hundred and ninety five days.
You may recalled that in my last report titled ” Home Grown Schools feeding: Is Bauchi State out of the program?” I said through out this year the state did not received a dime in the name of this program despite the budgetary allocation, approval and released; since other states have received their 2020 allocations.
The present academic calendar began since last year the state received only 20 days payment in first term even and it was received few days to the end of the term. And the program was only carried out for ten days while the remaining ten days were completed in the first ten days of the second. The exhaustion of that allocation, the protein suppliers and food vendors are for all these days waiting for the alert.
Suspecting a shortchange in the program was borne out of my concern to the schools children, it is not aim at ridiculing the program nor for mischievous purposes but if the trend continue this way, i.e delay of payment, primary school pupils who are the beneficiaries of the program will only received not more than fourty to sixty days meals as against the one hundred and ninety five days approved by the federal government annually; something that must be queried by all discerning minds and possibly to be investigated by the anti graft agencies.
I am very much sure that the federal government before the introduction of the program is aware of the number of operating days in our schools, the budgetary allocation and possibly the released are all to accommodates these number of days. A protein supplier confided with me says ” that this delay of payment is one their bitter experience” not only the suppliers some of the returned pupils who were hither to deserted the schools have began to become truants, the questions to ask are ‘ Who is Shortchanging the State and for What Purposes’.
The newly introduced Biscuits and youghurt on Fridays have become a nightmare to the schools managements, the distribution channels was poorly organised and structured. Instead of the suppliers to took the supplies to the schools directly headmasters were directed to travel to a long distance collection centers to have their schools allocations without provision for transport or food allowances.
The administration of Governor Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed (Kauran Bauchi) is determine to bring changes in the way and manner things are going on in the state, I am optimistic that he will beam his searchlight into the operation of school feeding program and all other social investment program in the state especially now that a very courageous and strong woman was appointed and resume office this week to oversee the activities of the Program in the state.
Isyaka Laminu Badamasi writes from Bauchi and can be reached on 08033665510.