Some parents and stakeholders in the country’s educational sector have lauded the Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, for the peaceful and event-free school placement exercise this year.
While commending the Minister for the smooth exercise, they have, however, appealed for an extension in the reopening date for fresh students of senior high schools (SHSs).
Following the successful placement of BECE 20221 candidates by the Computerised Schools Selection and Placement System (CSSPS), all successful SHS One students are expected to report to their respective SHSs or technical and vocational education and training (TVET) schools today, Monday, April 4, 2022, to begin their academic year.
However, some parents are appealing for the rescheduling of the opening date to enable them to complete the process of enrolment.
“I would like to appeal to the Ministry of Education to consider extending the time for reopening for SHS One students. This year, the placement system was smooth, but the reporting date is too close. We had hoped we would have about four weeks to prepare, but we are required to report today.
“Although it is free SHS and our children will report without having to pay any fees, there are still some things we need to get for them, and that is why we are asking for a consideration of the reporting date,” some parents who spoke with the Daily Graphic said in interviews.
Unlike previous exercises which saw parents and guardians and their children and wards frustrated over various challenges, this year’s exercise has passed without many incidents, much to the relief of parents.
According to them, apart from the placement exercise being peaceful and event-free, they were also particularly happy that they did not waste much time at the various resolution centres across the country, as the staff there worked hard to ensure that parents and guardians did not spend too much time at the centres.
“This year, there was so much improvement in the placement process. I think that is what we all expect — that each year there will be improvement in the process. I commend the Minister of Education for supervising this,” a parent said.
With the objective of making the exercise more efficient, convenient and seamless for students and parents, the Ministry of Education, through the Free Senior High School (SHS) Secretariat, put in place some measures.
Among the interventions were the change in the time of school selection from before the BECE to after the examination and the establishment of call centres to receive complaints from parents with challenges after the placement.
That seems to have helped to reduce the incidence of concerned parents and students converging on the Black Star Square, where the Free SHS Secretariat set up to attend to the immediate past CSSPS exercise.
A parent who went to the centre to have her child’s school changed from one region to another expressed satisfaction with the service.
“Having watched what had happened during previous exercises, I was concerned about how my issue was going to receive attention. But when my daughter and I went there, we were attended to and we did not have to spend the whole day there.
“Thankfully, we got our issue too resolved. I’m a single parent and my daughter was placed in a school in Sunyani. I told them about the challenges and we got an equally good school in the Eastern Region and I’m very grateful,” she said.
Mr Appiah Adomako Kusi, the Country Director of CUT International, lauded Dr Adutwum and all the other stakeholders for putting in place various remedial measures to ensure that the exercise took place smoothly for the good of all stakeholders across the country.
“For the first time since the introduction of the free SHS policy, the reports that usually came up after the placement had been very minimal and most parents who went to the various centres did not have to go there many times or spend long hours there before having their issues resolved,” he said.
Mr Kusi, however, wondered why the opening date for first-year students was not extended due to the late commencement of the self-placement exercise nationwide.
“Most parents and guardians in the country will be very happy if the opening date for first-year students is extended for some two weeks, so that parents can have ample time to prepare their children to go to school,” he said.
He also appealed to the Education Ministry to ensure that something was done about the supply of foodstuffs to schools, so that students could stay in school peacefully without food shortage.
Madam Sheila Mantey, a trader at Adabraka in Accra, said the teams used this year should be maintained to continue rendering such good services to parents each time there was school placement.
She also added her voice to the call for the opening date to be extended for two weeks to afford parents and guardians ample time to purchase the needed items for their children and wards.