The then Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and the Ghana Education Service (GES) in 2005 introduced the Computerised Schools Selection and Placements System (CSSPS) as a way of replacing the manual way of selection and placement of students in senior secondary schools which had for many years, been a source of stress and frustration to parents, heads of schools and candidates.
The introduction of the CSSPS was, therefore, aimed at promoting efficiency, transparency and speeding up the selection and placement process.
The manual selection system used the actual grades of prospective candidates which created bottlenecks in the selection process, while the CSSPS was supposed to use the raw scores obtained by candidates in all their core subjects and in any other two best subjects, with the aim of simplifying the admissions process by eliminating the bottlenecks.
However, since its inception, the efficiency of the CSSPS has been called to question by Parents, Guardians and prospective Candidates. Some of the major complaints about the CSSPS are instances where students are given Schools they did not select, students with low qualifying grades given priority of choice of School over those with higher qualifying grades, situations where a boy is sent to a Girls' School and vice versa, and also instances where normal students are sent to Special Schools for students with disabilities.
Though the Ghana Education Service continues to give Parents and Guardians the assurance that the inherent problems of the CSSPS would be gradually eliminated, they keep recurring year after year, without any sign of the problems being addressed. The Chronicle would be the first to admit that the CSSPS had somehow succeeded in minimizing allegations of corruption and favouritism that existed under the manual selection system.
However, the GES still has a long way to go if they are to achieve some level of perfection in the operation of the CSSPS. As we try to fully automate the selection process, we must bear in mind that there would always be recalcitrant Parents, Guardians and prospective Candidates who would always want to go round the established system in order to seek short cuts.
There are instances where Parents and candidates refuse the genuine selection choices that the CSSPS makes for them, and they go round castigating the whole selection process as bogus.
There are also frantic efforts by Parents to get their wards into the so called Prestigious Schools' by all possible means. We are also aware that there are interested parties who are trying very hard to collapse the CSSPS so that the old way of doing things would be brought back.
The problem where Parents and Candidates challenge the efficiency of the CSSPS by using just the grades can be corrected if the raw scores of candidates are displayed on the result slips as well, to allow for some transparency. With some 200,642 eligible candidates fighting for placements into 198,000 available vacancies, we can not expect the CSSPS to adequately satisfy everybody. We must all allow the system to work and the GES to address its problems along the line.