The Ghana Education Service (GES) as usual, would give final year students of our junior high schools the opportunity to select their preferred public senior high and technical schools, residential status, and programmes before they sit for the 2019 Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE).
The nearly 700 public schools at the secondary level are grouped into five Categories - A, B, C, D, and E, where Category E is for the purely public technical and vocational schools.
To avoid any ambiguity in the selection, guidelines are provided for the students to strictly follow and they are required to select five schools in order of preference.
A cursory look at the guidelines shows that Candidates could choose only ONE school from Category A; up to TWO schools from Category B; up to FOUR schools from Category C.,
The 5th Choice must be from Category D, which comprises both purely day and day/boarding schools, including the Technical schools.
With Category D schools, it is compulsory for all the Candidates to select ONE from there and the Residential Status must be Day. Category D schools fall within a Catchment Area, that is, 10 miles or 16km radius of where the candidate attended the junior high school.
This clearly tells us that, in 2019/20 academic year, no single public school will be allowed to run purely boarding; all schools, including those that previously ran purely boarding, would take 10% of the first year population as Day students.
For Candidates who are interested in pursuing technical and vocational programmes like auto mechanic, electrical engineering, plumbing, etc, it would be advisable for such Candidates to concentrate on Category E schools. The Candidate could select all his/her five schools from that Category because they are purely public Technical and Vocational schools. To enable the Candidates to know which schools fall into the Categories, the school register would be made available to them soon to enable them to make the best selection based on their ability, interest, and convenience.
Over the years, parents and other stakeholders have complained bitterly about their lack of involvement in the selection of schools for their wards. It is in response to this genuine call and the need to reduce the challenges associated with school selection and placement that, the Ministry of Education, in conjunction with the GES, Free SHS Secretariat is seriously embarking on school selection and sensitisation exercise in the country.
Training of officers - Regional/District Directors, PROs, Exam Coordinators, Guidance and Counselling Officers, Circuit Supervisors, and Heads of Public & Private Basic Schools have already taken place. Parents, final year students, and the general public are being educated on the process and procedure.
Team Leaders are trooping to the media, information centres, mosques, churches, durbars, etc to send the message to all and sundry and to respond to all concerns.
It is expected that parents would show an active interest in the selection exercise and collaborate with teachers/headteachers at the Basic Level to make good choices for their wards. Leaving the students to their fate during this critical period of school selection is not the best.
Also, a situation where students refuse to accept admission offer because it is not his 1st or preferred school must be a thing of the past.
Parents and their wards must understand and accept the fact that the Candidate is a potential student of any of the 5 selected schools either as a Day or Boarding student.
Let's all support the GES in this exercise by getting involved in the selection and accepting placement for our wards.