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General News of Saturday, 14 September 2019


Not everybody can go to Achimota SHS – Deputy GES Director

Deputy Director-General of the Ghana Education Service (GES) in charge of Quality and Access, Dr Kwabena Bempah Tandoh has advised parents to explore other equally good options when making choices for their wards for the Secondary School level.

Some students and parents over the years have complained about the school placement system, accusing authorities of manipulating the system and giving some B.E.C.E graduates better chances over others.

Some, as a matter of fact, complain about the situation where their colleagues who have lesser grades are given much better schools, sometimes their first choices whereas they, despite their relatively better and high grades are given their third or fourth choices, in some cases, they are not given schools at all.

This year’s batch of B.E.C.E graduates are no different, many of them have expressed frustration about the challenges they are facing with the placement process and for some of them, the self-placement process.

Addressing the issue in an interview on Citi FM Friday, September 13, Mr. Tandoh explained that the system is working efficiently contrary to many suggestions.

According to him, a number of factors including merit, choice of courses and residence by students, are considered in placing graduates, reason parents must look beyond just the ‘popular’ schools and spread their nets wide.

“What I would encourage parents to do is to not only choose the few schools we hear on radio and in the newspapers, that the 721 schools in this country provide vacancy for 520,000 spaces and for that matter anybody who wants to go to school can go, but not everybody can go to Achimota”.

He explained that students, though may have good or high grades, may not be given their first choices because of the level of competition for the courses they chose in those schools. In such cases, the student will be moved to the next available option among their choices where there is vacancy for that particular course rather than maintained in that particular school and given a different course.

We do choices by merit and so once a student finishes their B.E.C.E, we rank all the students from the first student to the last, we rank them in order of merit.

“For example, my child got 8 ones and 1 two, and she chose Wesley Girls for example, and she chose science, she is going to compete with every other girl who chose Wesley Girls and chose science. The entire school has a vacancy of 510 seats, we cannot put more students there than the 510 seats because we’ll create congestion, the school cannot take it. That same 510 seat, there were 4990 students competing which means only about 10 percent of students who chose Wesley Girls will get it and I can tell you on authority that people who got aggregate 6, 7 ones, aggregate 6, 8 ones and couldn’t get into the program because they were competing for science”.

Listen to the full audio below

“You chose Wesley Girls and you chose it at science, once you are not able to get into Wesley Girls as science, even if you got Aggregate 6, unfortunately we have to move you to your second, third or fourth choice school and then you go and compete for those in science because you chose Wesley Girls school as science”.

“Someone else may have chosen visual arts (I’m not saying it is inferior) and they may have chosen it with aggregate 8, not an aggregate 7 or 6 like your child, but because the competitiveness in visual arts is not as much, she will get a seat in visual arts so it is by choice and merit and by choice of program and residence. That explains why people will come out and say my child got 6 ones or aggregate 6 or 7, but they could not get into Wesley Girls, Mfantsipim and others so if the science program is full, we are not going to move you to go and do visual arts because then people will turn around and say their child chose science and you went to give them visual arts, We do not have any right to change anyone’s choice”, he explained.

Giving statistics of how applicants for schools yearly woefully supersede the number of vacancy seats government secondary schools in the country have, he said,

“Holy Child, 476 spaces, 4536 people chose it, Mfantsipim, 4084 people chose it, Prempeh College, 1530 spaces, 9750 people chose the school, Achimota declared 1190 spaces, the number of people who said they want to go to Achimota were 18,778 people so you may have a very high grade but if you didn’t perform, you may not be able to get into some of these schools, 22576 said they wanted to go to Aggrey Memorial, they had space for 800 people”.

Mr. Tandoh further urged parents to assist their wards use the self-placement option to get themselves good schools available in the country.

“We had a system challenge between the 9th and the 11th and a lot of press releases were put out there that anybody who went to the press releases between the 9th and the 11th, we apologise that they should go back and recheck their places because all of those placements need to be done again”

“So if you happened to do the self-placement and by Friday September 13 you had gone to the school, the school would not have had your details so you would just have to go back and check if the vacancy is still available and you’ll choose. And the Director General, through a press conference has apologized for the challenge and is asking that students go back and do the self-placement”

“They should be patient, and get a school for their wards”.