More than 105,471 errors have been detected on the registration forms of candidates who wrote the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) in April this year.
The candidates were required to indicate their schools and programmes of choice as well as the codes that go with them, their gender etc. on the registration forms. Any errors in the selection of the codes, therefore, would affect the placement of candidates.
Last year, 58,403 errors were detected on the entry forms of 308,325 candidates from 8,079 public and private schools who wrote the BECE nation-wide. This affected the speedy selection and placement of candidates in schools of their choice.
The Co-ordinator of the Computerised School Selection and Placement System (CSSPS), Mr Andrew Asare Akuoko, who made this known to the Junior Graphic, said the errors were committed by candidates across the 10 regions.
Mr Akuoko gave the breakdown of the errors as follows: Ashanti Region 21,901; Greater Accra, 17,522; Central, 12,192; Western, 12,125; Volta, 10,805; Eastern, 10,744; Brong Ahafo, 7,789; Upper East, 5,468; Northern, 5,153, and Upper West, 1,702.
He attributed the constant increase in errors to the fact that some headteachers, candidates, as well as their parents, did not understand the importance of studying the Schools and Programmes Register (SPR) before making choices.
"Additionally, the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) does not release the registration forms to the schools at the beginning of a new academic year. School heads are supplied the forms after the results of BECE candidates are released and this sometimes delays the registration process. This often makes some rush with the exercise without taking time to ensure that all programmes, school codes and gender are correct before sending the master list for placement," he said.
Mr Akuoko said the errors were mainly choices which were made without reference to the SPR and cited an instance where a female candidate chose St Mary's Boys' Secondary School at Apowa in the Western Region, and sought to offer Home Economics, a programme not pursued in that school.
"Apart from the gender problems, some candidates committed more than five errors on a single form. For instance, they quoted the wrong school code numbers, school names, programme names as well as their sex. This means the secretariat needs to hire more hands to effect all the corrections before effective placement could be done when the results are released," he complained.
He stated that those errors could be reduced if the heads constantly made reference to the register, since each year an updated version of SPR was sent to all heads, in addition to the registration forms.
Mr Akuoko said in order to rectify the errors on the entry forms, the secretariat had requested for the duplicate forms of all the candidates to enable it to cross-check the information provided to make the necessary corrections before the selection and placement exercise began.
He, however, expressed dissatisfaction with the unfavourable responses received from the districts and said those might affect the chances of the candidates.
Currently, it is only districts in the Greater Accra Region which had submitted all their master lists which indicate the schools and programmes selected by candidates for the 2007 placement.
All 18 districts in the Northern Region have not submitted a single form, followed by 15 districts in the Volta Region and 12 districts in the Ashanti Region.
In the Upper West and Eastern regions, eight districts each have not presented their list, while the Western and Upper East regions have seven more districts each to make their submissions. In the Brong Ahafo Region three districts are left to submit their lists.
Mr Akuoko cautioned all heads to endeavour to submit the master list through the district office to the secretariat for correction, else the affected candidates risk not being placed.
Story by Hadiza Nuhhu-Billa