21.10.2004 General News

Computer to simplify admission into schools

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Accra, Oct. 21, GNA - The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and the Ghana Education Service would from September next year computerize the selection and placement of students in senior secondary schools to simplify the admissions process and ease the perennial problem of admissions.

The system that would be known as the Computerized School Selection and Placement System (CSSPS) would replace the current manual system of selection and placement of qualified Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) candidates into Senior Secondary Schools and Technical Institutes.

The new system is aimed at promoting efficiency, transparency, simplicity and speeding up the selection and placement process. Pupils who are currently in class three of the Junior Secondary Schools and would be required to select schools for the 2005/2006 Academic Year would be the first batch to be selected and placed by computer.

Briefing the Media on the system in Accra on Thursday, Mr Ato Essuman, Chief Director of the Ministry, said over the past couple of years, the Ministry had faced the problem of providing placement for students, who qualified to gain admission into senior secondary schools.

He said that to ensure that people have confidence in the selection process for admissions into schools, the Ministry engaged some consultants through a competitive bidding process to design a module that would best address the system.

Messrs Somuah Information Service Company, (SISCO), an Accra based consultancy firm, won the bid and designed the CSSPS in consultation with all the relevant stakeholders in the Education Sector.

Mr Andrews Asare Akuako, Coordinator of the CSSPS, who shed more light on the system, noted that the current manual system of selection and placement had for many years, been a source of stress and frustration to parents, heads of schools and candidates.

He said the issues of missing cards, wrong choices, and the rejection of second and third choice candidates by some heads and a host of other problems have become the main characteristics of the manual system.

Mr Akuako said unlike the current system, which relied on the grades obtained in the various subjects, the CSSPS would utilize the raw scores obtained by candidates.

Thus, the total marks obtained by candidates in six subjects - four core subjects and two other best subjects- would be ranked in order of merit for every school selected.

Placement of candidates, he said would strictly be on merit and the number of vacancies available for every school.

He said under the current system, candidates are advised to select schools from the same region, but that under the CSSPS they are free to select three schools from any number of regions they wished. This, he said, was due to the fact that all selection and placement of candidates would be done on the computer in one location.

In addition to the three choices of schools allowed under the current system, the CSSPS makes room for a fourth choice. This requires that candidates select only a region and a district where they would like to attend school if they were unable to qualify for placement in any of the three schools they selected.

In such cases, these candidates would be placed in any school within their preferred districts, which may still have a few vacancies to fill. But in the event that a qualified candidate fails to secure admission into any of his or her three chosen schools, the computer automatically places the candidate in the selected district where a preferred program is being offered.

Mr Akuako said that the system when implemented would increase enrolment to senior secondary schools, improve data on enrolment levels and aid the completion of the Academic calendar.

He said it would also enhance the monitoring of manpower development, reduce annual budgets on selection and placement, improve public perception on admissions, reduce the anxiety of parents and enhance teaching and learning at the basic level in the country.

Dr Clement Somuah, the Consultant to the CSSPS, said the system was being reviewed and tested and that teachers were being trained on the use of scalable forms that candidates would be made to fill correctly.

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