Editorial: GES must be fair to all JHS students

The Ghana Education Service (GES) and the Ghana TVET Service, on Wednesday this week, released this year’s Computerised School Placement exercise, with a total of 372,780 candidates, representing 69.24%, successfully placed out of the 538,399 candidates who qualified.

However, 165, 619 qualified candidates, representing 30.76 per cent, who could not be matched with any of their choices, are expected to do Self-Placement to select from the available schools.

Addressing the media at a press conference organised by the Ghana Education Service and the Ghana TVET Service, Dr. Eric Nkansah, Director General of the GES, said everything possible was being done to ensure that those who could not be placed would get the opportunity to do self-placement.

He urged candidates who were not successful with the automatic placement to follow due process that has been put in place to ensure that they get placements in the available schools.

The Director General of the GES also urged parents to take a keen interest in the placement of their children, and not leave it in the hands of internet café operators, who might end up placing them at schools they may not like.

The Chronicle, first of all, congratulates the GES for a successful exercise, but as the Service itself has admitted, it is not over, as there are still 165,619 students who are yet to get placements. Since the self-placement by students have always led to chaotic scenes, one would have expected the GES to come out with a strategy to address the problem, but this is not what we are seeing.

Because parents rush to seek placements for their wards, the computerised system always jams, thus, making it impossible for the exercise to achieve its aim. The Chronicle was, therefore, an expecting assurance from the GES that the problem will not occur this time round, but Dr. Eric Nkansah was silent on that, except urging parents to get themselves involved.

The Chronicle is, therefore, advising the GES to ensure that they have a robust system that will make it easy for every parent or student to go to the website and select the school of his or her choice without the usual frustrations. If the chaotic situation occurs again this year, then it means the GES itself is not learning from past mistakes, and Ghanaians will not be prepared to accept that.

In fact, we do not understand why the GES cannot even place all the students, but always leaves a certain number of candidates to fend for themselves. The GES knows the exam centres for all the candidates who sat for the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE).

If a student, therefore, fails to get the grade that would have qualified him or her to some of the elite schools, the best thing to do is to place such a student in a school close to his exam centre.

In our view, there is no need to ask such a student to look for his or her own school, and the concomitant chaos the country experiences when the students try to do their own placements. It is wrong for the computer to select some of the students and others asked to look for their own schools. It is simply not fair.

As we have already indicated, if the affected students have low grades, the same computer can place them in lower grade schools close to their examination centres.


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