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Opinions of Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Columnist: Kwasi Abankwah Anokye & Anthony Kwaku Amoah

The CSSPS: Selecting and placing candidates into schools

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By Kwasi Abankwah Anokye & Anthony Kwaku Amoah

Introduction The Computerised School Selection and Placement System (CSSPS) started in 2005, though, has been subjected to series of review based on the concerns of parents, stakeholders and the general public.

As part of the measures to ensure a smooth placement of qualified BECE candidates, Ghana Education Service (GES) usually puts measures in place to forestall challenges that might emanate from the exercise. Policy guidelines of CSSPS The CSSPS has a set of guidelines for selecting and placing qualified candidates, including the use of raw scores of candidates and placing candidates using their performance in six subjects.

Using raw scores and placing candidates with six subjects The CSSPS uses the total raw scores of six subjects (and not grades) of candidates for the selection process. The six subjects which are picked during the selection process are English Language, Mathematics, Integrated Science, Social Studies plus two other best subjects.

In case of any issue of non-placement after the forth choice of schools, the affected candidates are identified with the CSSPS Secretariat treating them as special cases and having them processed into a special supplementary list. Selecting and placing candidates in schools Prior to selecting the schools and programmes of study, parents and guardians are advised to first consider choosing day schools which are not too far from their homes.

Placing candidates in schools with limited boarding facilities and programmes on offer has been highly competitive as the Secretariat usually considers placing candidates from within their first-four choices of schools.

Conditions for selecting candidates Candidates, with the support of parents and school authorities, are supposed to choose four schools, select their programmes of study and/or accommodation, choose only one school from the option one of listed schools and two schools from option 2, and then select all of their schools from option 3. Candidates, who desire to offer purely technical programmes, may select all of their four schools from option four with those opting for courses in private schools choosing their four schools from the options of private schools.

Candidates are expected to arrange their chosen schools in order of preference regardless of which categories they belong to.

Re-entry admissions Qualified candidates, who were unable to enter school or deferred their admissions to schools within a spate of three years, are eligible to apply as re-entry candidates for selection and placement in a particular year.

Application forms for this category of candidates are normally printed and sold in April of each year with the deadline for receiving the applications being the end of July of same year. Candidates will have to submit their filled forms to the Secondary Education Division of GES at the Headquarters in Accra with photocopies of their certificates attached.

Requirements and procedure for admitting foreign candidates Foreign candidates are either not Ghanaian citizens, Ghanaian citizens living in foreign countries or children of Ghanaian citizens in foreign missions (i.e. Embassies and consulates) who seek admission to enter or to have their wards enter senior high, technical and vocational schools in the country. The forms of foreign candidates are printed and sold in January of each year with the submission of applications ending in July of the same year.

Candidates attach records of their academic performance and testimonials from their previous schools and add relevant photocopied pages of their passports, indicating their bio-data, visas, and their departure and arrival pages, to the completed forms for submission to the Secondary Education Division of GES through the following address: P. O. Box M 45, Accra.

All foreign students are made to write an aptitude test, which is conducted by the CSSPS of the Secondary Education Service of GES, before being considered for placement. How to know your placement Placement results are released to mobile telecommunication companies, including MTN, Vodafone, Tigo and Airtel, for candidates to access.

To check the placement results, candidates must text their index numbers plus the years of completion of their BECE to special codes, which are issued by the companies (e.g. 020101900116 with the last two digits of the year of BECE completion, say 16 for 2016). Qualified candidates buy scratch cards from accredited firms, such as the Apex Bank (i.e. all rural banks), SIC Financial Services Limited, Unibank and Agricultural Development Bank.

They then use the internet to print the placement forms and submit them to their placed schools. What is my role in CSSPS? Let us take key interest in our wards’ education, including helping them to select their schools and programmes of study, pay for their school fees and to accept schools that the CSSPS places them.

As teachers, counsellors and school authorities help to provide good environment for teaching and learning, parents and other members of the general public should also continue to support our children to make choices for schools and programmes of study for better future.

By Kwasi Abankwah Anokye & Anthony Kwaku Amoah are, respectively, the National Coordinator of the CSSPS and a Public Relations Officer of GES.