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21
Tue, Nov

‘No qualified candidate will be left without school’

Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum

The Ministry of Education has given an assurance that it will do everything possible to ensure that no Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) candidate who has been placed in a senior high school (SHS) or given the opportunity to select a school will be left behind under the Computerised Schools Selection and Placement System (CSSPS).

It admitted that there were challenges facing qualified BECE candidates who had not yet been placed in SHSs and technical and vocational institutes under the CSSPS.

“We at the Ministry of Education will do everything possible to ensure that no student who has been placed or given the opportunity to select a school will be left behind,” the Deputy Minister of Education in charge of Secondary, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, told journalists at a press conference in Accra yesterday.

“What we are saying is that we will give you the opportunity, so that at the end of the two days if your child is not enrolled, we are not going to cut him or her off,” he added.

A statement issued by the acting Director-General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Prof. Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa, last Friday said 267,327 out of the 424,092 candidates who qualified for SHS had secured placement in the schools of their choice, while 150,770 candidates could not be placed in the schools of their choice.

Under an arrangement, the educational authorities gave those who could not be placed in the schools of their choice a second chance to go online and select from the options available within 48 hours from last Friday.

It said candidates could check their status from 8 a.m. on September 1, 2017 by logging onto www.myjhsresult.net and then follow the online instructions.

In view of the challenges involved in accessing the website, the GES extended the grace period to allow the candidates to do self-placement and print their admission letters.

Frustrated journalists

At the press conference by the Ministry of Education in Accra yesterday, journalists were given limited opportunity to ask questions.

Apparently not happy with the decision by Dr Adutwum to take only three questions, some of the journalists chose to loiter around the premises of the ministry.

They used the opportunity to interview a number of anxious parents and candidates who had thronged the premises of the ministry to make one complaint or another.

Most of the complaints centred on candidates who had not been placed, requests for change of placement and inability to access the website given by the ministry for candidates to do self-placement or print their admission letters.

Calm nerves

Dr Adutwum calmed the nerves of parents that the 48-hour deadline should not be a cause for worry “because we are not going to leave anyone behind”.

He explained that the ministry was monitoring the situation and trying to scale up the server capacity and the bandwidth, so that more people could access the Internet to select schools of their choice and print their admission letters.

He said the ministry was working at “removing the log jam, so that more people can get in” to be able to print their letters, as well as do the self-placement.

Self-placement

He said the ministry decided to introduce the self-placement to enable candidates and their parents to go through the available schools and select the schools of their choice.

Dr Adutwum explained that because many people were trying to log onto the site at the same time, they were bound to face challenges with accessing the Internet.

He was, however, confident that the difficulties would reduce after many parents or their children had been able to access the website and print their admission letters.

He explained that the ministry was not out to punish parents or candidates but that it wanted to ensure that schools reopened early to avoid the usual late reporting to school.

Dr Adutwum said the ministry understood parents and candidates’ anxiety, especially so when there was an opportunity for the children to enjoy free education under the free SHS policy.

Hotline

He announced that the Free SHS Policy Secretariat had set up a hotline to receive complaints and queries from parents and students who would encounter any problem.

The minister gave the hotline as 0302747778 and a WhatsApp line as 0207407499, saying: “A number of people are going to be waiting for your calls in case things are getting difficult.”

In addition to the steps the ministry had taken, Dr Adutwum said, the sector Minister, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, had dialogued with heads of SHSs and technical/vocational institutions to ensure that any challenges were resolved.

Ready for reopening

“As I speak with you, we believe we are ready to reopen schools. However, as a human institution, challenges may come,” he said, adding that the ministry had already distributed textbooks on the core subjects to all schools and asked any school that might be having challenges to immediately get in touch with the ministry.