The School Feeding Programme (SFP) has benefited pupils in the basic level of education worldwide. It served as safety nest to reduce hunger and reduce nutritional disorder. In the nursing training colleges in Ghana, SFP were adopted to ensure that trainee nurses are not unnecessarily hungry throughout the training period hence improve their cognitive functioning. However, after about 43 years into the programme, the Ankaful Psychiatric Nurses Training College (APNTC) suspended the school feeding programme. After about four years of suspension, the management is considering reintroducing the school feeding programme. This study examined the perception of stakeholders regarding the reintroduction of the school feeding at the APNTC. The study employed the descriptive survey design and drew samples from APNTC. Questionnaire was the main instrument used to gather data. The main findings of the study were that, students go through stress in cooking by themselves, students contract several ailments as a result of eating food outside the school and waste a lot of time on cooking. The study further revealed that reintroduction of school feeding will help reduce electricity bills as a result of the use of electrical appliance for cooking meals, school feeding will help improve on teaching and learning activities in the college. It was recommended that Management of the nursing training colleges should engage trainee nurses in the menu planning to enhance efficient implementation of the feeding programme and the policy makers should come out with a policy to standardize feeding in all nursing training colleges in the country, hence making school feeding formal and its usefulness to the trainee nurses clearly stated.

The school feeding policy was adopted in most nursing training colleges in Ghana. This is because, the programme has been perceived as very beneficial to students at all levels of their education. Despite the numerous benefits of the school feeding programme in the provision of education in Ghana, some management of tertiary educational institutions have begun to abolish the programme in their schools. After many years of operating the feeding programme at the Ankaful PNTC, the management of the college suspended the feeding programme and introduced the self-feeding system where students have to prepare their own meal. After four years of cancelling the school feeding programme, the management of Ankaful PNTC has considered re-introducing the school feeding programme. It is evident from literature that the school feeding programme has several benefits that student get when they are provided meals at school and trainee nurses are not exception. This study is relevant to explore what stakeholders perceive of the re-introduction of the school feeding programme and suggest measures that could be put in place by management to sustain the school feeding programme at the Ankaful PNTC.

Background to the Study
Tertiary educational institution is known for innovation, implementation of new ideas which may result in positive achievement. Today’s higher education environment has become increasingly competitive, and many public colleges and universities have begun to adopt market-oriented strategies as a result (Leland & Moore, 2007). This competitive environment is driven by a number of forces. As a result, management of every institution is working so well to put in place measures that will ensure that students after completion of tertiary education will meet the request of the job market (Leland & Moore, 2007).

According to Sen (1999), the only way to build a nation is to provide quality and adequate educational infrastructure for its youth. It is through education that the lives of people are shaped to become future political leaders, scientists, economists, artists and thinkers (UNESCO, 2011). Education in its general sense is a form of learning in which knowledge, skills, and habits of a group of people are transferred from one generation to the next through teaching, training, research, or simply through auto didacticism (Sen, 1999). Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts.

Food is an essential part of everyone’s lives. It gives us the energy and nutrients to grow and develop, be healthy and active, to move, work, play, think and learn (Barrett & Maxwell, 2007; Vermeersch & Kremer, 2005). The body needs a variety of the following 5 nutrients - protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamins and minerals from the food we eat to stay healthy and productive. Protein is needed to build, maintain and repair muscle, blood, skin and bones and other tissues and organs in the body (Barrett & Maxwell, 2007). Micronutrient from minerals and vitamins control many functions and processes in the body. These entire essential nutrition components and their benefits to the individual are gotten from the daily food intake. In the same vein, hunger is a condition in which people lack the basic food intake to provide them with the energy and nutrients for fully productive lives. Living on empty stomach or on significantly less than the daily recommended calorie intake for a long period may result in underweight, lack of energy results in the body and mind slowing down, resulting in a hungry individual experiencing: Lack of energy to do things, play and learn, apathy - whereby the individual is less interested in the world around her and less resistance to disease as their immune system weakens (Barrett & Maxwell, 2007). These and many more are the reasons why several studies deem it important that the individual is fed at school to ensure that hunger is quenched and the daily nutritional requirement are met for proper cognitive functioning. A school feeding programme is one of the programmes implemented in a number of countries, including South Africa, in an effort primarily to improve school attendance and academic performance in education through improved learner nutrition and health (Grantham-McGregor, Chang, & Walker, 2015).The School feeding programme in Ghana is one of the social intervention programmes introduced to improve the educational standards in the basic, Junior and Senior high schools in Ghana. School feeding programmes have been implemented in various schools across the globe to eliminate hunger and improve the nutritional welfare of learners (WFP, 2009; WFP, 2013). According to World Food Programme (2000), other factors of education such as quality of education in terms of qualified teachers, conducive environment and adequate teaching and learning materials become relevant when hunger is addressed and the student is in school. Hunger among students in school may be addressed through provision of SFP in schools. Trainee nurses are most often occupied with field work and hardly make time for themselves. Again, trainee nurses use human beings for their practical experience and as such need attention and focus to get procedures done right. A shift in attention during the performance of a procedure as a result of hunger could cost the innocent patient’s life. To prevent this occurrence, timely provision of food to the trainee nurse is necessary. The nature of school feeding in the tertiary institution especially the nursing training colleges across Ghana is such that, students are served three square meals regularly throughout their three year stay in the college.

Relating the in-school feeding programme to the nursing profession, Nightingale, the mother of nursing, in her principles of nursing training provided a universal template for early nurse training school beginning with St. Thomas Hospital. She believed that food formed an important aspect of human development and this must be considered at any stage in life. Students in the tertiary institutions especially nursing training are health inclined and would live healthy as per the principles of Florence Nightingale. Nightingale noted that individuals desire different kinds of food at different times of the day and that frequent small servings may be more beneficial to the individual than a large breakfast or dinner (Nightingale, 1869).

According to Nightingale (1869), the early days of nursing practice was associated with the poor in society, such that only the poor in society were found to do unclassified jobs and give services such as care for the sick. Nightingale disputed this ideology. She propounded a theory which grew from her empirical observation during the Crimea war where she considered nursing as a call, to a more complex theory that view nursing as a science and art.

People who enrolled for health training back then were provided basic needs which included feeding during the period of training (Nightingale, 1869).

In the face of the above, in-school feeding was established in all nursing training colleges in Ghana right from their inception. The rational for the establishment of the in-school feeding was to relieve students from the stress of food preparation. This is to enable them have enough time to perform their academic activities. Martens (2007) asserts that school feeding is to provide trainees with the essential nutrition required for cognitive functioning. Several studies have discussed in-school feeding and its related issues at the primary and secondary levels of education. However, little is known about the perception of stakeholders regarding school feeding at the training colleges in Ghana. There has not been much exploration on the impact of school feeding on teaching and learning activities of students in the nursing training colleges. In many school feeding programmes, students passively accept the food they get. Some students may offer suggestions or complain from time to time, but they soon learn that their views have little impact. Students may not get the quality they expect. Although these difficulties can never be totally eliminated, they will be reduced if school feeding is organized in terms of rights-based programmes with stakeholders’ views being paramount (Kent, 2010). The objective of the in-school feeding programme was to ensure that students in schools were able to focus on academic work and improve general academic work. Several empirical studies have talked about in-school feeding in diverse ways. According to (Ahmed & Arends-Kuenning, 2003) in-school feeding is routine practice in most schools across the globe.

Most nursing colleges in Ghana are practicing the in-school feeding programme with the exception of a few namely; Ankaful, Korle-Bu and Pantang Nursing Training Colleges who recently opted out with reasons unknown. These nursing training colleges no longer feed their students in school. Students are now allowed to feed themselves in school. Before the abolishment of the in-school feeding programme in these nursing training colleges, nursing trainees at the nursing training college in Ghana were provided with school meals at a subsidized rate each semester.

The PNTC, Ankaful located in the K. E. E. A district is an institution established as far back 1972 to train professional mental health nurses. The training of these professionals is an all-important task which requires a more conducive environment comprising proper sanitation, good nutrition, portable water supply, good light systems and the like for effective teaching and learning procedures. The institution also runs an affiliation system for most health training institutions in Ghana (Mbroh & Appetey, 2015).

Right from the inception of Nursing Training Colleges in Ghana, the in-school feeding programme has been part of the administration of the colleges. Nursing trainees are provided with a three-squared meal throughout their stay in the college at a subsidized rate. The purpose of the in-school feeding programme was to increase the quantity and quality of students’ meals and to enhance trainee nurses’ involvement in teaching and learning activities (Mbroh & Appetey, 2015). From the school’s inception, both regular and affiliated students have enjoyed a feeding system. This eased them from the pressure of acquiring, preparing and storing food. The feeding also provided lunch for the tutors of the school thus afford them enough time to stay productively in the school.

The abolishment of the in-school feeding programme at Ankaful PNTC in 2015 was as a result of a petition presented to college management by the student body. Their petition was to plead with the college management to address issues on food given them (SRC memo, 2014 PNTC Ankaful). The students argued several points including the fact that the cost of feeding charged them is on a high side. The principal at that time, Rev. Aba Nkoom consulted other Nursing training schools where students feed themselves and decided to also try that system of self-feeding by the students. Based on this, the management of Ankaful PNTC decided to suspend the programme.

The management of the Ankaful PNTC set up a committee to investigate the concerns raised by the students regarding the in-school feeding programme and also to make recommendations. The committee met the entire student body, through its representative council (SRC) in August 2014 to deliberate on the issues they raised in their petition. Some of the concerns raised included bad taste of food, queuing for food for long hours, complains from kitchen staff on shortage of ingredient for cooking which affected the quantity of food served them. The students expressed dissatisfaction in the fact that they were made to pay huge sums of money for food which was below the expectation of the meal they are served with. The committee recommended that students should be served breakfast and supper at a specific cost. However, the management’s extensive consultation from other schools like PNTC Pantang, NMTC Korle- Bu who have successfully adopted a self-feeding system inspired the adoption of the self-feeding programme in the school. This led to the eventual abolishment of the in-school feeding programme at the Ankaful PNTC.

It has been about four years since in-school feeding was cancelled in the Ankaful PNTC. Nevertheless, , the management of the Ankaful PNTC has made plans of re-introducing the feeding programme. This has necessitated the need to investigate the perceptions of stakeholders regarding the re-introduction of the in-school feeding programme at the Ankaful PNTC in other to set standard measures by which in-school feeding should be implemented and sustained when re-introduced.

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Item Type: Ghanaian Topic  |  Size: 114 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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