By Prosper Dan Afetsi, FOGET President
It was near drama at the Independent Square, Accra, on Monday September 16, 2019, when parents, guardians and potential Senior High School (SHS) students thronged the venue to complete the self-placement process in a bid to further their education.
Although some of the parents and their wards had genuine concerns such as girls being placed in boys schools and the vice versa, others do not simply like the alternative schools because they did not choose them and are not part of the top listed high schools in the country.
The Foundation for Generational Thinkers (FOGET), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) which is very active in the educational sector, finds the happenings as unfortunate.
We believe a great school or institution does not come by itself, but only by determined students working in tandem with their teachers – that is what has created the renowned schools, and not the presence of the physical infrastructure.
Ghana has recorded untraditional second cycle schools like Mount Carmel Girls’ Senior High in the Brong Ahafo Region topping the 2013 West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) by scoring 100 per cent.
Therefore, the is one thing parents must remember is that by not getting your ward admitted to the “best secondary school”, or what is generally called ‘Grade A’ school, should not be the end of the world for these ambitious teenagers eager to further their education at the SHS level.
Although the role institutions play in shaping students cannot be disputed, attending a ‘Grade A’ school is also not tantamount to one necessarily becoming successful in life. This, notwithstanding, the fact is that if a student is in a school with all the physical infrastructure in place and does not work hard or not taught well, failure will come ‘knocking’ at our doors.
The Ghana Education Service (GES) has explained the cause and subsequently rendered an apology for the software failure for the computerised placement system, that resulted in this chaotic situation being broadcast in the news.
Regrettably, some parents and their wards have travelled long distances from other regions of the country to the capital, Accra, to have the problem fixed, when this could simply be done in their respective districts.
FOGET is, therefore, of the view that the time has come to subject the computerised placement system to rigorous scrutiny to end the repeated cycle of parents and students thronging the Independence Square.
After 14 years of implementing the computerised school placement system, we are still bedeviled by the same problems of wrong postings, inability of pupils to get schools of their choice, and, sometimes, boys posted to girls’ schools or able students sent to specialised schools.
Though the software malfunction, which the GES is blaming on hacking, may be real, we, as parents, must go beyond that explanation and create a new reality for our children, a reality that will be a valuable lesson for them from now and into the future.
Since sending students to far-away schools that do not have boarding facilities, creates a problem such as accommodation and feeding, and it places additional burdens parents to ‘cough out’ more money to take care of these other responsibilities.
There is also the fear of students living independently without any supervision which could lead to them going wayward, including drug addiction, prostitution and teenage pregnancy.
Every student wants to be a product of one the big name schools that have better educational facilities, coupled with experienced teachers eager to impart so much knowledge to them.
These teachers are often examiners of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), and therefore, have experience to teach the students how to answer examination questions according to WAEC standards.
History has demonstrated that it is not the physical infrastructure and age of the school that produces the best students, as earlier cited, but the determination of the students to make a mark. It is important for the students to be made to understand that a school’s location can never be a hindrance to achieving their desired goals in life, hence, they must not be disheartened and frustrated if they do not get admission to their choice school.
The government and the GES, on the another hand, must improve facilities in the less endowed schools, as well as ensure that dedicated teachers are posted to these schools, which are mostly in the rural areas.
The students, together with their parents and guardians, must equally understand that regional integration and cohesion are important to nation building, so when they are posted to a school outside their regions, that should not pose a challenge to them. They should see it as an opportunity of learning from other cultures.
FOGET is a not for profit organisation with a trans-generational purpose and vision to empower lives for sustainable living and be the voice that transcends generations. Its mission is to educate, inspire, equip and challenge, and be responsible for the next generation of leaders.
Formed on the principles of integrity, leadership, sustainability and responsibility, FOGET is a peoples’ organisation that welcomes all skills and talents, so that together we can make the world a better place.
Its strategic objectives include reshaping and reorienting mindsets, raising transformational leaders with generational influence, and empowering the current generation to lay a solid foundation for future generations. (https://foget.org/)