It was to basically do away with the laborious method of manually selecting qualified students for placement in senior high schools (SHSs) across the country that the government introduced the Computerised Schools Selection and Placement System (CSSPS) in 2005.
The introduction of the CSSPS was also to ensure some fairness in the selection of students for placement, curtail underhand dealings and corruption by school heads and do away with the headache of parents having to move from school to school in search of admission for their children.
Ten years down the line, however, while it can be said that school heads have been saved the trouble of going through thousands of forms presented by students seeking admission to their schools, the same cannot be said of parents’ troubles as they search for admission for their children.
Although many students who pass their Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) are placed in schools of their choice, there have always been difficulty in placing some students in their preferred schools.
This year has been no exception, culminating in the Ministry of Education (MoE) launching investigations into reports that some students who were placed in various schools such as the Wesley Girls’ High School (WGHS) have been denied admission because of lack of accommodation facilities.
But even before the investigations are completed, the ministry maintains that some miscreants have infiltrated the CSSPS and managed to alter information on placement sheets with the aid of technology.
If the GES and the CSSPS are aware of the vacancies, strengths and capacities of all schools across the country, then any student placed legitimately in a particular school should be given admission.
We, therefore, urge the GES to hasten its investigations into what caused the denial of legitimate admission of students to schools, although they had their placement sheets that attested to their placement in those schools.
While we find it strange that some first-choice schools could not corroborate the placement of students with their own list, we pray the investigators to especially look into what caused the differences in the two lists.
We also recommend a probe into the system of “protocol lists” which gives preference to certain students to be placed in particular schools, despite the MoE’s denial of the existence of any such lists.
There is also the issue of under-declaration of vacancies by school heads, so that they are able to fill up the real vacancies with their preferred students who may be relations of staff members, old students, other influential members of society or others who may not necessarily be grade ‘A’ students.
The Daily Graphic believes that if the CSSPS must work, all major stakeholders — the MoE, the GES, SHS heads, parents and their children — must commit to weeding out all miscreants who are out to manipulate the system for their own selfish ends by not paying any illegal money to have candidates not placed through the CSSPS admitted to certain schools.
We urge the MoE and the GES to liaise with the security agencies, especially the police, to bring to book any persons found to have manipulated the CSSPS, so that it serves as a deterrent to others who are bent on making it difficult for the system to achieve its goal.