Former Deputy Education Minister, has revealed that the recent troubles with the Computerized School Selection Placement System (CSSPS), have been caused by the government’s decision to change the existing computer software by procuring new one, just three months before the school placement.
The change, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, lamented has left parents and their wards at the mercy of the unscrupulous individuals, some of whom are charging GHC3,000 to GHC5,000 as bribes to place the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) graduates in Senior High Schools (SHS) across the country.
Independent sources have told The Herald that, Education Minister, Matthew Opoku Prempeh, aside the procurement of the new software, has replaced all officials in-charge of the school placement, with some new faces who have been traced to his Manhyia South Constituency in Kumasi, Ashanti Region.
Mr Ablakwa, had revealed that his sources at the Education Ministry, have told him that the software, had not been tested and perfected ahead of the release of the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) to enable those manning it do a diligent work, hence the stress that parents and their wards are being subjected to.
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, did not mention the name of the software, where it was procured from and at what cost. He, however, suggested that the decision by the Education Ministry to change the software, was totally unnecessary, as officials in the ministry, had perfected the older software and were able to operate it with ease.
The CSSPS matches Junior High School (JHS) graduates with Senior High Schools they wish to attend based on a myriad of criteria.
The criteria, include the aggregates of a student obtained in the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and whether they chose the secondary school they wish to attend as a first, second, third, fourth or fifth choice and whether they wish to attend the school as a boarding or day student.
This year, like previous years, there have been complaints by some parents that their wards, have been placed in schools that were not part of the five schools they selected.
Speaking on the matter, Mr Ablakwa, who is the Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu in the Volta region, said Saturday on Multi TV/Joy FM’s Newsfile that the challenges, have come about because the current administration failed to learn critical lessons from the previous administration.
“I do take issues with some of the measures that government has implemented. I think that they have aggravated the problems and created more troubles for themselves. For example, why change the software three months to such a major exercise?” the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) legislator said.
According to him, the current administration caused the Ghana Education Service to change the old CSSPS system three months to the start of the placements.
“You don’t do that because for these things you need to do test runs,” he admonished government.
He also faulted a policy to reserve 30 per cent of the secondary school placement to students from public schools, suggesting that the figure was too high.
“When you introduce a 30 per cent reservation for students from public schools, you make the problem even more acute in terms of providing space for these students to enter. I understand the policy. I support the affirmative…but we have to be scientific about it,” he said.
He added, “30percent is too high and in my view, that is what has even further worsened matters.”
The third cause of the CSSPS challenges, is a decision by the government to replace key personnel at the CSSPS Secretariat with new ones.
“Why do we virtually have to replace experienced hands at the CSSPS Secretariat? I would have thought that at least they will keep the experienced hands,” he noted.