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15.09.2005 General News

GES says 7,000 vacancies exist for candidates

By GNA

Accra, Sept 15, GNA - Mr Michael Kenneth Nsowah, Director General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), on Thursday urged parents and wards, who are dissatisfied with the new Computerised School Selection and Placement System (CSSPS) to exercise restraint while GES looked into the problem based on the scores of candidates.

He said after the first placement of candidates, reports indicated that over 7,000 vacancies existed in 98 public secondary and technical institutions throughout the country.

Mr Nsowah said the state of affairs occurred because few candidates selected those institutions. The list of all the 98 schools have already been sent to Junior Secondary Schools (JSS) with unplaced candidates throughout the country to enable the candidates to re-apply under a second phase of the selection process.

He said the computerised selection system had come to stay and the general public must accept it. "We all stand to gain since it would help to move Ghana's education development forward." A total of 287,294 candidates took part in this year's Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) out of which 177,070 candidates scored between aggregate six and 30 and qualified to enter Senior Secondary School (SSS) and technical institutes. However, only 146,000 vacancies existed in the public schools.

Mr Nsowah said 139,164 candidates had been placed in public SSS and technical institutes based on their first, second and third choices as compared to 2004 in which 130,378 were placed. This year about 31,000 may not be placed in public schools and they could be placed in private SSS.

He said under the manual system, 122,884 candidates were placed in SSS/Technical Institutes and emphasised that selection and placement of candidates depended on candidate's performance, choice of schools and programmes.

Mr. Nsowah said the MOES and GES had received complaints about placement into private schools, female candidates placed in male schools and candidates placed in schools without boarding facility. He said private schools registered with the CSSPS Secretariat and recognised by the GES were approved.

He said some candidates selected these private schools and were placed there, adding, however, that after the first, second and third placements it was realised that vacancies still existed in some public and private schools while there were many qualified candidates, who were unplaced.

Therefore, the system had to use the candidate's fourth choices, that is, the district and region to place them. He explained that candidates found their names in private schools as a result of their inability to secure placement into their first, second and third choices of schools.

He noted that all choices made by candidates were very important since the computer considered those choices according to the candidate's merit, adding GES was assessing the situation.

He appealed to parents and the public to be very much interested in the choice of schools and programmes for their wards, since any misguided choice of schools and programmes would not favour the candidates, saying to select only top schools in succession was not very ideal.

He again assured parents and the public that the computerised placement was the best and a fair system for enrolling children and wards into the SSS programme and with the support of parents the system would be improved in subsequent years.

He said reports reaching GES indicated that some heads of JSS were collecting monies before releasing results slips to students and warned that any head caught in such a practice would be dismissed. "We wish to make it clear that this practice is illegal and unacceptable. No parent should pay any money to any head of JSS for their child's results slip."

Meanwhile a number of parents converged at the Public Relations Department of the GES expressing their disappointment at the system. Some said GES should cancel that private school issue because they could not pay their school fees.

Madam Dora Nartey, businesswoman, told the GNA that she had been to the private school where her ward had been placed and the headmaster was the only person managing the school, which had no boarding facility.

She said the Headmaster told her that he would have to buy coal-pot for her ward so she did not want her ward to go to that school. They were asked to write their petitions for GES to handle the issue. 15 Sept. 05

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