This year’s school placement will be out on Sunday, 21 February, save for some last-minute hitches, the Director-General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Professor Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa, has suggested.
The placement will include all school and private applicants who have passed the Basic Education Credential Examination (BECE) in 2020, and all re-entrants.
In total, nearly 525,000 eligible BECE applicants will seek placement of their options in 721 senior high, technical and vocational schools that have declared over 535,000 vacancies.
Prof. Opoku-Amankwa told the Daily Graphic that the GES had collaborated closely with the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) to report the results of most of the candidates whose results had been withheld, adding that there were actually less than 100 candidates whose results were still withheld.
He continued that the applicants had ample openings, which is why there was no reason for either nominee or parent to fear.
The director-general clarified that the CSSPS problem has only been a matter of preference and not of room scarcity.
Prof. Opoku-Amankwa said over the years, the number of candidates who qualified to be placed was always far below the vacancies available, “and every year when we do our placement, just as we get oversubscribed schools, we also get under-subscribed schools”.
He said only about 100 schools, out of the 721 were usually oversubscribed.
On the arrangements being put in place to address overcrowding of candidates and parents, he explained that unlike the previous years when the management of the GES had to set up solution centres where those with genuine issues could go for help, “this year, because of the COVID-19, we want to avoid the situation where people will rush to the Black Star Square and other places to gather”.
“So we are setting up call centres to receive and work on issues people may be coming up with,” he explained.
Prof. Opoku-Amankwa explained that at such centres they could address genuine technical issues and also the issue of a day student placed in a distant school.
Asked whether or not the double-track system for school attendance should be stopped, he said discussions needed to go on as to whether or not it should remain or be completely scrapped as advocated by a section of society.
He also explained that based on an analysis of issues by the service, “the major issue that creates a problem for us is the self-placement”.
“In the past, when you did the self-placement, chose a school and for any reason you wanted to change it, the system did not allow you to do so. You needed to come back to us, and that was why we got people massing up at the Black Star Square to do those changes,” Prof. Opoku-Amankwa explained.
This year, however, he added, the candidates would be allowed some level of flexibility to effect changes on their own.
“For this year, candidates will be allowed to change schools a couple times until finally they enrol in them. So until you enrol in a school, you can continue to do changes up till the enrolment deadline, and once you have the opportunity to change, you do not need to come over here to seek any assistance or for someone to do that for you,” he told the Daily Graphic.
He was of the belief that the self-placement issue formed more than 70 per cent of the challenges the GES had concerning the placement and was optimistic that with this new module, the system would work smoothly.
He explained that the placement of candidates under the CSSPS had, over the years, been done three weeks to the reopening of schools, and “this year’s is no different”.
“Usually we give them some three weeks to prepare to go to school and we wanted to keep to that,” he said.
Prof. Opoku-Amankwa also explained that there had been no delay in the placement, as some people were speculating, saying the same format that was used during the pre-COVID-19 era was what the GES had stuck to this year.
He said the period of waiting after the results were released afforded the GES to engage with the WAEC to ensure that majority of the candidates whose results were withheld had them released.
On December 16, last year when WAEC released the results, 977 candidates had their subject results withheld, pending the outcome of investigations.