Accra, Oct 27, GNA - Mr Kwame Ampofo Twumasi, Deputy Minister of Education and Sports, on Thursday said though the 2005 senior secondary school placement was not completed yet more qualified candidates had been placed this year than previous years under the manual system. Mr Twumasi, who was addressing a press conference in Accra, said out of the 287,000 candidates presented for the 2005 BECE, 177,070 qualified by obtaining aggregate 06 to 30 and 145,141 were placed while 31, 929 were unplaced.
He said in 2004, 278,382 candidates were presented for BECE out of which 170,323 qualified and 130,000 were placed and 40,323 were unplaced.
In 2002, he said, 264 947 were also presented, 160,261 qualified, and 116,286 placed but 43, 975 were unplaced.
He said problems arising out of the current placement exercise could have been avoided if affected candidates and heads of Junior Secondary Schools had shown more vigilance and commitment during the BECE registration exercise 10 months earlier. He said to avoid any such future occurrence candidates must not select three top, competitive schools, no matter how highly they rated their own capabilities.
Teachers, parents and candidates must be more vigilant when writing and shading the code numbers of selected schools and programmes. Mr Twumasi added that students and parents must take care when selecting programmes to suit candidates' academic capabilities and natural talents.
He also suggested that seriousness must be attached to the shading of the gender of candidates so that boys did not end up being listed in girls' schools and vice versa.
He said the exercise was, however, successful as the majority of students had been placed and were in school, saying, cooperation of parents and all other stakeholders, especially heads of schools was required to ensure the efficiency of the system which had come to stay.
Mr Twumasi noted that over estimation of academic capabilities of children, the wrong choice of programmes were the reasons for which most candidates were unplaced.
He said some candidates selected programmes without taking care to find out if they were offered in those schools, thus since they were not lucky to find vacancies in any school offering their preferred programmes in their fourth-choice district they ended up being unplaced. He said candidates were placed in private schools as a last resort because their total raw scores were so low. From petitions by parents it came to light that some parents under-estimated the capabilities of their children and thus selected low profile schools.
Such candidates had actually been placed in their schools of choice but after the parents came to realise how brilliant their children were they no longer wanted the schools their children first selected during the registration but what they described as better schools.
He said unqualified BECE graduates with aggregates above 30 also considered it a good opportunity to gain admission into senior secondary school by submitting petitions to that effect.
He said there was also total rejection of placement in community day schools, some with genuine reasons and others under false pretence, noting that it was a fact that most parents preferred boarding schools. On the current vacancies being filled, Mr Twumasi said it became obvious after the placement that most day schools in less endowed localities could never get their full complement if it was left to the goodwill of parents and candidates to accept placement in those schools. "In fact the Volta Region which had about 35 out of the 98 such schools had about 3,800 vacancies awaiting to be filled."
He said it was also noted that most of the semi highly patronised schools could admit some more candidates but for fear of being accused of flouting the directive of limiting their annual intake to maximum of 500 candidates.