The Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU) has called on the government to expeditiously address the problem of inadequate number of kitchen staff in senior high schools (SHSs) and technical institutes (TIs) in the country.
That, it said, was to ensure the effective delivery of services in the various institutions and smooth academic work.
“Staff strength is a big challenge to most of the schools in the country. Over the years, some of the staff retired, died and others left the service.
Most of them have not been replaced yet.
“To make matters worse, the students’ population in all schools has increased tremendously putting immense pressure on the limited staff,” the Chairman of TEWU, Ambrose Yaw Kwadzodza, said in an interview with the Daily Graphic.
He said, for instance, the ratio per staff to students should be about 100 students to a cook and 200 students to a pantry hand.
However, he said: “The best we can get in the present situation is 200 to one cook and 500 to 1000 students per pantry hand”.
The situation, Mr Kwadzodza said, was becoming unbearable with the form one students admissions still ongoing, adding that most of the cooks and the pantry hands had to risk their lives to leave their homes as early as 430 a.m. to enable them to meet the time to prepare breakfast for students.
In addition to the inadequate number of kitchen staff, the TEWU National Chairman said kitchen staff were supposed to undergo periodic medical screening to ensure that they were healthy at all times but that was yet to be done.
He explained that the rate at which the kitchen staff were getting indisposed with various kinds of health issues was alarming and “if care is not taken, very soon our members cannot perform their duties satisfactorily”.
“During the Christmas vacation, a domestic bursar called that she had to leave her home to avoid constant harassment from suppliers,” he said and that “TEWU is also calling for the prompt release of funds to run the schools.”
Moreover, he said the schools delayed in the purchase of liquefied petroleum gas) because of the delays in the release of funds.
Also, he said the purchase of vital chemicals to constantly clean the kitchen to prevent flies and other reptiles had also been an issue.