Security agencies probe 2022 CSSPS bribery allegations
The National Investigations Bureau (NIB) has begun investigations into allegations of bribery in the placement of successful Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) candidates into senior high schools (SHSs), technical and vocational institutions.
Security sources told the Daily Graphic yesterday that the investigations were in response to a letter from the Director-General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Prof. Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa, petitioning the NIB and the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service to conduct investigations into allegations of corruption in the placement of students under the Computerised Schools Selection and Placement System (CSSPS).
In the letter, sighted by the Daily Graphic, the GES Director-General said in some instances, fingers had been pointed at top officials of the Ministry of Education (MoE), the GES/CSSPS and the Free SHS Secretariat.
Dated April 5, 2022 and signed by Prof. Opoku-Amankwa, the letter, addressed to the Director-General of the NIB, said: "Management of the Ghana Education Service will be grateful if your office could launch a full-scale investigation into these allegations to establish their authenticity or otherwise.
“We are ready to fully co-operate with your office in this exercise."
This year, the MoE has described the CSSPS, under which successful BECE candidates were placed in SHSs, technical and vocational schools, as the most successful in recent years.
That is based on the fact that this year, there has, so far, not been any massing up of parents, guardians and candidates at the Black Star Square for their placement challenges to be addressed.
The ministry has described complaints brought forward by some parents concerning the placement as isolated cases, saying that, generally, the exercise has been successful.
At the beginning of the exercise, 555,353 candidates had qualified for placement, and as of last Tuesday, the number of candidates placed was 525,701.
While 367,811 of the candidates were automatically placed, 187,542 were unplaced.
A total of 99,239 of the unplaced candidates got placed manually, while 112,198 went through self-placement.
Of the number placed, 379,390 have so far enrolled, with 263,358 of them being boarders, while 116,032 are day students.
Some 146,308 candidates who have successfully been placed are yet to enrol.
Current vacancies stand at 155,174.
In spite of the successful placement process, one issue with which the exercise has been confronted this year is the widespread complaint of alleged commercialisation of the exercise.
Some parents complained that they had to pay various sums of money, ranging between GH¢3,000 and GH¢10,000, to get their children placed in schools of their choice.
They contended that parents decided not to mass up because they preferred to look for money to pay for their children’s placement.
Although some of the parents decided to conceal their names for fear of their children and they themselves being victimised, an member of the Ghana Association of Writers (GAW), Maxwell Maundy, has damned the consequences and shown his face.
Mr Maundy, in a two-part open letter to the Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, published in sections of the media, chronicled his harrowing experience with a man he only knew as Sammy in his desperate move to get a school for his daughter.
In the said letter, Mr Maundy said in his desperation, he paid GH¢3,000 to Sammy, who gave him the assurance that the daughter would be placed in the Methodist Girls' SHS at Mamfe, Akuapem, which turned out to be a fraud.
The Deputy Ranking Member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Education, Dr Clement Apaak, said Mr Maundy’s complaint was not an isolated case.
He intimated that many people had similar stories but had decided not to come out with them, for obvious reasons, saying the development was a very unfortunate one that needed to be addressed immediately.
He said the MoE's position that people who came up with the allegations should show evidence was not helping matters.
Dr Apaak, who is the Member of Parliament for Builsa South, contended that since the allegations were not one or two or three, what the ministry needed to do to give confidence to the public was engage the NIB to unearth their veracity or otherwise.
Need for review
He said by so doing, the ministry would redeem its image and that of its agencies and further give the public the assurance that the CSSPS was still credible.
He said the time had come for the CSSPS to be reviewed, after it had been implemented since 2006.
"The review is necessary, as it will look at where the challenges are coming from, so that they can be addressed. After that if there is the need for some changes, then they can be carried out," Dr Apaak said.