Minister of Education, Betty Mould Iddrisu has warned staff of the Ghana Education Service to stay away from the Computerized School Selection Placement System.

The Minister of Education, Betty Mould Iddrisu has warned Ministries, Departments and Agencies, including staff of the Ghana Education Service (GES) not to meddle in the Computerised School Selection and Placement System (CSSPS) for entry into the Senior High schools.

The National Coordinator of the Computerised School Selection and Placement System (CSSPS), Samuel Oppong, who confirmed this to The Chronicle, said the Minister’s directive was borne out of complaints of alleged corruption surrounding the System.

“The Minister of Education, Madam Betty Mould Iddrisu has directed that all Ministries, Departments and Agencies, including staff of the Ministry of Education (MOE) and Ghana Education Service (GES), not to present letters to school heads to seek direct admission,” he noted.

“Henceforth, all such requests from all stakeholders should be re-directed to the Director, Secondary Education Division, for appropriate action to be taken on merit,” the National Coordinator of the CSSPS, Samuel Oppong, quoted the Minister as saying in her directive.

The said directive, The Chronicle learnt, has been passed on to the Director General of the GES to be passed on to all heads of Senior High schools.

According to Mr. Oppong, the CSSPS, since its inception in 2005, had been fraught with challenges, mainly from third parties whom he described as ‘Contractors’.

These ‘Contractors,’ he noted, extort monies from parents with the promise of securing their wards good schools, notably, their first choice ones, but end up harassing Ministers, members of parliament (MP) and staff of the GES to intervene on their behalf.

“One of the challenges, which I see, is that parents don’t want to accept certain choices. So they would do whatever is humanely possible to see if they can influence the system. So, for example, if I am an MP, somebody could come to me and say please help me get admission for my ward. Parents insist they want first choice and not second or third choice.

“Because of that, there have been the emergence of so-called contractors who try to influence people, the political system –both sides, and sometimes they would go to the extent of even threatening the MP or the Minister that we have voted for you and this and that. Definitely, your reputation will be at stake if you say no,” Mr. Oppong explained.

He said because Ministers and MPs enjoy certain preferences for security reasons, some unscrupulous persons have taken advantage to abuse the system.

Aside the ‘Contractors’, notable among the abusers of the CSSPS are some GES officials and personnel from the Ministry of Education (MoE), as well as some heads of Senior High Schools (SHS).

“The second challenge is that some heads of Senior High Schools admit candidates outside the CSSPS. So, what is happening is that part of the problem is people from the GES and the Ministry of Education who even use their cards –,’please assist’.

So, the head is also afraid that if the directive is coming from a senior person from the Ministry, and he doesn’t admit, something else will happen. But, if you give him or her chance to admit one, he or she will admit ten, because he or she now has a lee way,” the soft spoken Mr. Oppong narrated.

A document sighted by The Chronicle indicated that for the 2010 academic year, 310 vacancies were declared by Accra Girls High School, but the signed list submitted to the GES by the school authorities was 398, a difference of 88 candidates, representing 22.1%.

Achimota SHS had 450 vacancies declared, but the GES received a signed list of 512 candidates, an intake of 62 more candidates, representing 12%, whilst that of the Odorgonno SHS admitted 639 instead of the 145 vacancies declared. Presby SHS, Legon, also admitted 672 candidates instead of the 600 declared vacancies, whilst Ghanata SHS admitted 216 more candidates alongside the 360 vacancies declared.

The only school that admitted candidates within what was declared vacant was the Wesley Grammar School. A signed list submitted to the GES by authorities of the school was 420 candidates ahead of the 450 declared vacant.

The aforementioned problems, according to Mr. Oppong, always affect the smooth process of the CSSPS, since it ends up putting pressure on 52 SHS to admit more than it can, adding “that is why every year we have the number of re-entry increasing. This is really affecting the integrity of the system.”

To forestall the problems crippling the operations of the CSSPS Secretariat, Mr. Oppong said he has in his annual report appealed to all Regional Directors of Education to ensure that vacancies declared in SHS are validated, to reduce the negative public perception of the CSSPS.

“It is important to ensure that the system works to achieve the objective for its introduction,” he was quoted as saying in his report. Failure to adhere to the directive, he noted, would result in the removal of subsidies that would be paid to the students who were admitted outside the CSSPS.

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