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General News of Wednesday, 18 September 2019


Suspend school placement system, abolish 'shameful' solution centres – Ablakwa tells Gov’t

Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, MP, North Tongu Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, MP, North Tongu

A former Deputy Minister of Education, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa wants the government to, as a matter of urgency, suspend the entire computerised school placement process following the myriad of challenges that have characterised the system, ABC News can report.

The North Tongu MP also wants the government to completely abolish all solution centres established by the Ghana Education Service to help resolve the challenges of parents and students until the system is perfected.

In a social media post, Mr Ablakwa criticised the establishment of the solution centres, describing the move as “weird and shameful concept.”

“Government ought to consider the following suggestions without delay: Immediately suspend the entire placement process and return to the drawing board; Outrightly abolish this weird and shameful concept of a dehumanizing CSSPS Solution Centre currently operating from the Black Star Square.

“Government’s decision to create more solution centres in other regions which only means nationalizing the agony of our people across the country is most insensitive, reckless and offensive.

“It should cease forthwith. In any case, Ghana is the only country in the world at this time of technological advancement where the solution centre for a COMPUTERIZED SYSTEM is not virtual which will only require people conveniently completing all processes online from the comfort of their abodes but requires showing up physically at designated locations to form tortuous queues before one can be recognized by the computer,” he wrote.

The Ghana Education Service opened the SHS Placement System on Sunday, September 8, 2019, which saw over 470,000 qualified students placed in the various second cycle institutions across the country.

Subsequently, the GES established solution centres in all the regional capitals to offer assistance to students who may have challenges with their placements.

The GES also developed a self-placement module to offer opportunity to qualified students who were not placed to select a preferred school from a list of schools provided on the CSSPS platform.

The exercise has however, been fraught with problems as many parents have expressed their frustration over their inability to successfully place their wards in their preferred schools, leading to their decision to mass up at the solution centres.

A stampede at the Black Star Square Solution Centre in Accra Monday reportedly left three people unconscious as they struggled with thousands of people gathered there to have their issues resolved.

Mr Ablakwa further called for the abolition of the self-placement system, describing it as an “excuse for lazy computer programming and deficient algorithm associated with the new software.”

“Government must return to assessing students based on their raw scores and not their aggregates as used to be the case when Prof. Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang was in charge of the Ministry of Education. Obtaining a grade of 70 which is equivalent to aggregate one is not the same as the student who scored 95 to also secure aggregate one. Under a stanine system of scaling which is the model WAEC uses at this level, there can be no fairer alternative,” he wrote.

He called on the government to conduct an inquiry into all the issues that have characterised this year’s placement system particularly on the alleged corrupt practices suggesting that some persons hacked into the software and altered placements.

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