Experts disagree with Catholic Bishops on SHS computerised placement
Some stakeholders in the education sector want calls by the Catholic Bishops asking the government to abolish the Computerised School Selection and Placement System to be disregarded.
According to the Minister of Education, Betty Mould-Iddrisu, calls for the abolition of the system are “premature”.
Whilst an Education Policy Analyst, Kofi Asare, thinks the calls cannot provide solutions to challenges bedeviling the system, a former Director of Ghana Education Service, Michael Nsowah says abolishing the system would worsen issues.
Leaders of the Catholic faith, at the end of a five-day conference in Takoradi issued a communiqué, calling on the government to suspend its decision to reintroduce the three-year SHS. The Conference also called for the abolition of the Computerised School Selection and Placement System (CSSPS).
Mr Michael Nsowah, though, pointed out that the 30% quota to localities should largely be blamed for the discrepancies in the selection process; he strongly disapproved that the system should be abolished.
“I think it is something that helped in a very big way and if there are certain challenges, I think we need to look at those challenges and make it work. We cannot go back to the manual because that was fraught with more fraud than we are talking about now.”
According to Kofi Asare, an Education Policy Analyst with Action for Rural Education, the system has suffered some challenges since its inception, but this year's “problem seems to be quite handful”.
“But I don't think the solution to the problem is to abolish the CSSPS; it is not the solution… Abolishing it will take us back to the regime which was worse compared to the current regime. So abolishing is out of the options we should be considering at this time.”
He attributed this year's flaws to the “seemingly incoherence between data on vacancy available to the Computerised School Selection and Placement Secretariat and the actual vacancies in the senior high schools”.
The Minister of Education Betty Mould-Idrissu has announced that there would be a stakeholders' meeting on Tuesday to iron out all the teething issues concerning the selection process. Mr Asare has, therefore, called on the ministry to take a critical look at the gap to ensure that information on vacancies in schools corresponds with what the secretariat has.
He said after interacting with some parents and education practitioners, the 30% quota was fingered as a contributing factor to this year's mess.
He noted that the implementation of the system came after the pupils have filled the forms to select their preferred senior high schools; hence the 30% quota was done manually alongside the computerized system.
On the back and forth with the SHS duration, Education Minister Betty Mould-Iddrisu told Joy News the law introducing the four-year SHS system has been amended and there is no turning back.
Kofi Asare has thrown his weight behind Education Minister's rejection of calls by the Catholic Bishops.
“The timing is even wrong. I think we have crossed the bridge on the debate between three years and four years. There are so many pressing issues in education that we need to discuss, so we should discuss emerging issues in a progressive manner,” Kofi Asare told Joy FM's Top Story Monday.
Education Policy Analyst noted that it would be inappropriate to revisit the debate, having previously been weakened with political coloration.
He said after the necessary legal amendment has been made to the Education Act 2008, Act 778 to go three years, people should be more concerned with how to put the three years adopted into good use.
“We also realised that Ghana actually was not prepared for the four-year system, which experienced severe inadequate infrastructure, lack of good preparation in terms of curriculum availability and even teachers and so many other things,” Kofi Asare stressed.
But Mr Michael Nsowah maintained he was still in support of the four-year system.