Mr. Mark Sasu-Mensah, the National Coordinator of the CSSPS
The Computerised Schools Selection and Placement System (CSSPS) has introduced new policy guidelines for the placement of candidates of this year’s Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) into senior high schools (SHSs) and technical institutes (TIs).
The policy guidelines, which aim at ensuring the smooth placement of BECE candidates, follow a review of last year’s placement exercise undertaken by the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service (GES).
“We have received some policy guidelines from the Ministry of Education and there is a new paradigm shift from the guidelines that were implemented last year. We are the policy implementers and so whatever comes from the ministry is what we will use,” the National Coordinator of the CSSPS, Mr. Mark Sasu-Mensah, told the Daily Graphic in an interview in Accra.
He said the improved policy guidelines were developed out of the challenges encountered during last year’s placement exercise.
Giving an explanation of the guidelines, he said all second-cycle school had been grouped into public SHSs, public technical/vocational institutions, private SHSs and private technical/ vocational institutions.
“Candidates must select a total of five schools in their school selection process. They must, in addition, select programmes and residential status of their choice. This is compulsory because some schools have boarding facilities, while others have provision for both day and boarding students, with others still being day or community schools,” he said, adding that “failure to follow instructions will result in the computer rejecting one’s selection”.
Mr Sasu-Mensah said the public SHSs are in four categories: A, B, C and D, adding that the guidelines required BECE candidates to choose only one school from Category A, which has 55 schools regarded as top institutions or popular and were oversubscribed.
He said Category B had 220 schools and candidates had the opportunity to choose two schools from the category.
Category C had 363 schools and candidates could choose up to four schools from that group, he said.
With regard to Category D, he said candidates were compelled to choose a school from that class.
“Category D is the group from which candidates must compulsorily choose a day school. In choosing a school from here, it is important for candidates to choose a day school in their catchment area. I’d like to stress that it is compulsory and every candidate has to do that.
“If you live in Madina, for example, you can choose a school like the Presbyterian Boys’ Senior High School (PRESEC), Legon because PRESEC, Legon is both a day and a boarding institution. This is irrespective of whether you have chosen PRESEC, Legon in Category A. The same applies to schools in other areas,” he said.
For the technical, vocational education and training (TVET) schools, Mr. Sasu-Mensah said a candidate could choose all his five schools from that section.
He said as soon as a candidate chose an SHS from categories A, B or C, the person would have to satisfy Category D by compulsorily choosing a day school from the group.
He said after going through the process of selection, candidates would have to arrange their schools in an order of preference.
Mr. Sasu-Mensah said candidates who desired to attend private schools were also free to do so.
He appealed to candidates, parents, teachers and district examination officers to be meticulous in their selection of schools, since problems encountered in the past were as a result of the wrong selections done by them.
“I beg all those who feed the choices and data of candidates into the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) system to be extra careful in their work because failure to do what was required would affect the selection done by the candidates,” he said
About 500,000 candidates from 16,060 public and private basic schools from across the country will be taking part in this year’s BECE.