The CSSPS is the acronym for Computerized School Selection and Placement System. It is an automated merit-based computerized system which has replaced the laborious Manual System of Selection and Placement (MSSP) of qualified BECE candidates into second cycle (Senior High Schools and Technical/Vocational) institutions in Ghana.
The CSSPS was introduced in 2005 as part of the Ministry of Education (MOE) and Ghana Education Service (GES) grand plan of programmes and interventions intended to expand access and improve the quality of education through teaching and learning as well as curricular development. There have been numerous challenges since its inception. This includes the 2019 placements that were made just recently. This post takes a look at the problems that were encountered last year and its causes.
There were allegations of corruption in the media in spite of various assurances from the Ministry of Education. Among the problems and criticisms are the following:
Some parents bitterly complained that because of high cost of private schools’ fees, those who find their wards placed in the private schools do have problem of school fees. Also because of the distributive nature of the system, students who are placed in schools far away find it difficult to cope with distance. The problem of female students being placed in male schools and vice versa was not an exception.
While these problems were attributed to the registration process in the schools where most students make mistakes in shading wrong, some people think the CSSPS is not working well.
It was also alleged that some heads of schools do not make available to candidates the WAEC register which lists all schools with designated codes for correct shading. However, according various reports, about fifty thousand errors were committed in 2011 alone due to the above challenges faced by the new system of selection.
PROBLEMS THAT WERE FACED BY THE CSSPS
The CSSPS poor publication of school information to the public was a major challenge. This was identified to have posed some discomfort to the selection and placement exercise. Due to the dignity of most people to have their children in Category “A” schools, there have been series of direct appeals for admission from major stakeholders, including religious organisations, traditional rulers and old student groups.
Also, the lack of fairness in the distribution of school facilities was a challenge. Analysis of the SHSs, as captured by the appraisal document of the Secondary Education Improvement Project, shows that schools do not have the same funding in educational resources. If all schools had the same resources, the system would have been highly appreciated by all stakeholders. This implies that efforts to address the unfairness in school resources and or facilities will, to a large extent, make things much better than they are now. It has been observed that the issue of unfairness often makes parents and students choose schools described as Category “A” schools to the neglect of other ones.
These ‘A’ schools are commonly recognized to be well endowed and popular and for which reason most parents would like their children to attend them. A review of the choice pattern of some Category “A” and “C” schools has shown that high information asymmetry on schools and/or preference for highly endowed SHSs at the expense of the so-called less-endowed ones.