Ghana Education Service says computer placement will stay despite calls for its abolition

The Ghana Education Service (GES) says it will not scrap the Computerised Schools Selection and Placement System (CSSPS) that places BECE candidates into senior high schools because of the overwheming support the system has received from the public.

It said the system was being reviewed and fine-tuned and, therefore, invited suggestions from key stakeholders such as the Catholic Bishops Conference and the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT).

“This system is far better than the manual system. We would not scrap the it because of the popular acclamation it has received from the public,” the Head of Public Relations Unit of the GES, Mr Charles Parker-Allotey, told the Daily Graphic.

The Catholic Bishops Conference in a communique at the end of their annual Plenary Assembly at Takoradi, called on the “government to abolish the CSSPS for there appears to be as much, if not more corruption, confusion, and inefficiency in this system as the former”.

It said after years of experimenting with the CSSPS, the Bishops had thought the time had come to abolish the system and replace it with a workable alternative.

“Seven weeks into the first term, some of the students are still at home waiting to know which schools to attend. The use of the Internet to know in which schools students are placed further complicates the process ,especially, for students who have no ready access to this service,” the communique said.

However, the GES believes that today, children who otherwise would not have gained admissions into some popular and well-endowed senior high schools (Mfantsipim, Presec, Legon, Achimota, Prempeh College, St. Augustine’s, etc) are in those schools because of the CSSPS.

Hitherto, those schools were the preserve of children of parents who had been to those schools, and they (old students) and heads of those schools greately influenced admissions.

NAGRAT last Friday called for investigation into the operation of the CSSPS to instill sanity and ensure that children were selected and placed purely on merit.

The association said, “it is highly disturbed about the perennial problems relating to the CSSPS which seem to have hit a fever peak this year, adding that “parents, students, teachers, school administrators and other stakeholders have been pushed to a state of panic and confusion in their attempt to secure admissions for children”.

A statement signed by the General Secretary of NAGRAT, Stanisaus P. Nabome said it was surprising to note that the number of students placed in some schools far exceeded the vacancies declared by the heads of institutions, a situation which had thrown school administrators into confusion as to who should be admitted.

But Mr Parker-Allotey admitted that there had been some challenges, and added that those challenges emanated from the introduction of the 30 per cent quota policy.

For his part, the National Coordinator of the CSSPS, Mr Samuel Oppong, asked which was a better alternative if the computerised system was scraped?

He said it was only people who would not take advantage of the system who are calling for it to be scraped, adding that the 30 per cent placement had resulted in the delay of the exercise.

“Next year the 30 per cent quota would be the seventh choice and we are also not going to wait for BECE results that have been witheld because the witheld results delay the placement exercise,” he said.

Mr Oppong assured that the placement would be done in August, next year as soon as the BECE results were released.

So far, he said, 99.8 per cent of the total candidates that qualified for senior high schools and technical institutes had already been placed, with some already in school.

He said the lack of infrastructure for most schools was also a problem, and stated that 60 per cent of the candidates chose to offer General Arts in the various SHSs although the schools did not have enough classrooms for General Arts students.

Asked why schools were given more than the number of candidates they requested for, Mr Oppong said, the situation arose out of the number of candidates that opted for the 30 per cent quota policy.

He said once the candidates asked for the policy they had to be placed in schools in their communities or catchment areas.

“We have done this system smoothly for seven years, what is the alternative?,” he asked, saying that the manual system was even more chaotic than the computer system.

Presently, he said, what needed to be done was to expand infrastructure in senior high schools, especially the single sex schools with emphasis on the girls schools where a large number of candidates chose.

Mr Oppong said every year’s placement was reviewed, and that this year’s one too would be reviewed.

Meanwhile, the Catholic Bishops said the present government and successive ones must take note that ther was a quiet but growing anger among the people about the politicisation of education in the country.

“We, therefore, appeal to the government to let us maintain the four-year system of senior high school for sometime to know its full benefits and disadvantages before we decide whether to make any changes or switch to another system,” they said.

Source: Daily Graphic

1 Comment
  1. john zootar says

    Why is Mr Opong not addressing some of the major corruption allegation levelled against the placement system?. I do agree with him that the computerized placement system should be or is better than the manual but the corruption factor is what the public is worried about. How will a computer select a candidate with aggregate 26 and reject a candidate with aggregate 16 seeking for admission in the same school for the same programme. The notion being painted to the future leaders is rather very dangerious while some feel the placement is rather luck majority think it is who you know and not what you know.

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