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18.10.2005 General News

Hundreds of angry parents besiege Ministry, GES

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Accra, Oct. 18, GNA - Hundreds of angry parents and wards on Tuesday besieged the Ministry of Education and Sports and the Ghana Education Service (GES) demanding schools for their wards who had problems with this year's Senior Secondary School placement under the new Computerised School Selection and Placement (CSSPS).

The parents, who were not allowed into the premises gathered at the gate of the Ministry, saying the names of their children were not on the first list of placement that had been pasted at the Greater Accra Regional Education office a week ago.

Despite the presence of the police, the dissatisfied parents were still forcing their way into the premises to demand answers to their petitions.

Mr Micheal Kenneth Nsowah, Acting Director General of the GES, who addressed them standing in a Toyota Pick-Up gave the assurance that the CSSPS Centre was working hard and would complete the placement by the end of the week and that by October 24, the full list would be placed at the regional offices.

He therefore, asked parents to remain calm and exercise restraint whilst the GES and the Centre carried out the exercise smoothly, saying every child would by all means get a school.

"We cannot put every candidate into the school of his or her choice. There is a huge list so we are also looking at where they (students) come from, the kind of problem they have, whether it has to do with a parent not interested in a private school, day school or a girl put in a boys' school."

Mr Nsowah said this time no candidate would be sent to any private school because parents were complaining that they could not afford the high school fees charged in those schools.

"Even GES has no business putting them there e xcept if the wards themselves and their parents want to be placed there. GES wanted to get them into schools that was why some private schools were added." MrNsowah said GES could not leave the burden of paying high school fees to the parents because it was not their fault, adding that the Minister would hold a meeting with the technical team of the system to find a concrete solution to the problem.

"We are going to work out the possibility of getting each public school to take a certain number of the candidates who were not placed. If a school can take 10 more then it should do so, still according to merit." Mr Nsowah added.

He said heads of the schools delayed in declaring their vacancies because they were under strict instructions from the GES to wait. GES cannot blame the schools, as the problem occurred because of communication problems.

Some of the parents who were not convinced with the explanation continued to linger around the premises.

Madam Zakaria, a trader, said for the whole week she had been checking on the new placement list but could not find her wards names. She said the GES was only deceiving them because they continued to tell them the same stories.

Mr Mahama Haruna, General Secretary of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS), said NUGS was in solidarity with the candidates and the parents because it was not fair for some students to be in school while others were at home.

He said NUGS was giving the GES up to October 26 to find a lasting solution to the problem.