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General News of Thursday, 19 September 2019

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Calm returns to Black Star Square after chaotic scenes at GES Solution Centre

The situation at the Black Stars Square in Accra yesterday was calm and orderly as parents, guardians and junior high school (JHS) graduates returned there to seek solutions to their concerns with the Computerised Schools Selection and Placement System (CSSPS).

Although there was a sizeable crowd at the Black Star Square, one of the Solution centres set up by the Ghana Education Service (GES), the picture was a complete opposite of the chaotic scenes witnessed there last Monday when hundreds of people besieged the place in a bid to get their concerns addressed but they were not attended to due to a number of technical challenges.

Changes

Some of the issues the parents and guardians complained about range from boys being placed in girls’ schools, students placed in day schools far from their areas of residence and able-bodied students placed in special schools.

They also complained about students not finding their names at the schools they had been given through the self-placement system.

Since last week, the crowd had been building up until last Monday when it became chaotic. In the process, some parents and students collapsed and had to be rushed to hospital by an ambulance.

However, when the Daily Graphic returned to the same venue yesterday, there were no scenes of anxiety, with the police taking control of security affairs at the place.

The police had set up a 100 barricades, while about 50 policemen ushered parents and students to the Solution Centre to get their issues addressed.



Instead of one stand addressing all issues, as was the situation on previous days, there were three stands to address different concerns, such as students with grades below aggregate 10 being attended to in one stand, while the other two stands were for students with no placement or other general issues.

A list displaying available schools, the regions and districts where those schools are located and the slots available for day or boarding students had been posted at vantage points at the square to enable students to select schools out of the pool for placement.

There were also plastic chairs for parents and their children, while some of them were made to sit in the wings to wait for their turn.



An ambulance and personnel of the National Ambulance Service were also on standby to handle emergency cases.

Concerns

Speaking to journalists, the Director-General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Professor Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa, said many students who had selected day school options and had been placed had now come requesting for boarding options.

“Unfortunately, we cannot make that change. If there is any reason to have it changed, the students will be moved to comparable schools that are closer to them and they will still be day students,” he said.

Police presence

The policemen deployed at the Black Star Square included both senior and junior officers, after the Accra Regional Command had held a meeting with the GES and agreed on rigid security arrangements, which manifested at the venue yesterday.