School Placement – A Definitive Guide

The school placement for senior high schools was introduced in 2005 to help somewhat automate the admission process of Junior high schools (JHS) students into various senior high and Technical/Vocational schools across the country (SHS/TVET)

Prior to the school placement module, admission was done by headmasters manually. It was bedridden with so many challenges and was avenue for corruption, where some school authorities were extorting money from unsuspecting parents and guardians. It was very difficult to get admission to a Grade A school if you don’t have money to pay bribes or if you are not highly connected to the school authorities.

Read Also: The Use of Mobile by SHS Students Good or Bad.

Due to this, the education ministry and its subsidiaries procured a computer placement software codenamed ” Computerized School Selection Placement System ” (CSSPS). The software was to help do the placement in fair manner without or with little human interference.

I write this article to give a comprehensive guide to parents, guardians, students and all other people who have an interest or a role to play.

Ever since the implementation of the CSSPS, it has encountered many challenges due to misunderstanding of how the system works.

Parents have problem why their wards did not get their schools of choice. Although, each potential Junior High school student has the opportunity to choose five schools, it happens that some of them do not get any of the five choices.

This sometimes brings frustration to the family as they usually do not know where to turn to for help.

Others too want to have a particular chosen school at all cost.

Declared Vacancies

Before anything, senior high schools across the country are to declare vacancies available. This will help the CSSPS platform to place students in those vacancies.

Headmasters declare the following:
Programs : eg General Science, Technical, Visual Arts, General Arts etc
Residential Status: Day/ Boarding
Sex: Boys and Girls.

All the data should balance. As such number of females/males for each program should match with the total number of day and boarding students for each sex.

For instance, vacancy declared for General Science should look like :
Boys (30) Girls (43) with accommodation status

Day Boarding Totals
Boys : 10 20 30
Girls: 13 30 43
Totals: 23 50 73
Table 1

There are two categories here for the General Science program. Sex and Boarding status.

These data are collected from all the second cycle schools and aggregated onto the CSSPS platform.

Form Filled at JHS

The potential Basic Education Certificate Examination(BECE) candidates across the country fills a form that that will contain all the choices of SHS. This is where care must be taken because a slight mistake can result in a whole mess.

There has report where a female candidate is given a male only school or vice versa.

For a detailed features of the second cycle institutions visit website (include link). It will help candidates to know whether a school is a mixed sex, same sex school or it offers a particular program or not. Some schools too are only day meaning it does not have ant Boarding facilities.

All these factors must be considered before choosing a school to avoid any later frustration.

It has even emerged that most parents are not consulted before the choosing is made.

On the form, candidates have the choice to chose a school and its corresponding course of study and Boarding status.

Students also had to fill in their bio data like sex, Full name as it appears on their BECE results or certificate.

These data too is loaded unto the CSSPS platform.

BECE Examination Results

This is major determining factor. After the candidates have sat for the exams and the results are confirmed and released, the results’ data are then sent to the CSSPS and matched with the data provided by the JHS candidates. With this each candidate will have his or her chosen schools and exams score put together.

The exams result determines whether a particular candidates qualifies for a particular SHS considering his performance and reference with how competitive the choices are. The school selection is competitive for the fact that most people would want to attend a certain ‘prestigious’ school.
Admittedly, there grades of schools looking at the availability of infrastructures and a school’s historic academic performance.

Placement Procedure

The system will have to populate all the data loaded and make sure that all data provided are correct as far as it can. One such example is a male candidate choosing a female only school or a candidate choosing a program which is not offered by the chosen school.

The first phase is for the system to use the aggregate (and use the raw scores to break any tie), to arrange the students according to their school of choice, available program and boarding status.

Information available indicates that, the system uses what is called “automatic placement” in the first phase. So in this case the a candidates performance is what merits his or her position or placement.

The subjects considered are the four core subjects namely: English Language, Mathematics, Integrated Science and Social Studies and other two best performing electives.

The second phase is the program phase, after meeting the academic qualification on merit. If a candidate does not get his or her program of choice, he is moved to his or her second school choice and compete with those who have chosen the same school and program and so forth.

The third phase is the residential preference. If a particular candidate with a preferred school and program does not get his residential preference, then the option D school is considered but if the option D school is the same school, he will be placed as Day student.

Catchment Area

All the candidates are advised to choose a school nearby their residency where they can be day students in case they failed to get their first to 4th choices.
It compulsory and the selection can be any district/region where the candidate can be a day student for the 5th choice.

30% Allocation for Public Schools

This one was another introduction to address a situation where grade A schools get candidates from private/international schools. So in this case grade A schools have 30% allotted for all candidates coming from public JHS schools for placement.

In view of this, no grade A school will have at most 70% enrollment from private JHS.

Self Placement Module

This is an option for candidates who failed to secure any of their five choices. In this case, the candidate will have to get a scratch card containing the PIN and CODE and visit the CSSPS official website to self placement.

He only have to select the school available through the region and the district. After getting a school and program and residency, the student is placed there.

Checking Placement Results

Procedure to check BECE and Placement Status

When the CSSPS platform finishes with the Placement, student would have to buy scratch cards which can be used to check their placement status at the site : cssps.gov.gh

The student then prints the placement form and with other documents including his examination results and report to the school placed for admission to proceed.

If you don’t have access to the scratch card, you can use the advertised USSD codes to generate the card’s details and pay through mobile money services.

Few Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why my child didn’t get a school?
A. It is possible that a candidate will not get a school because the school chosen were all competive either in scores, program or residency.

Q. Why my Child is a female but she is given a male school?
A. This is an error from the initial filling of the forms. The CSSPS algorithm cannot tell whether a mistake on the form as whether the candidate is male or female.

Q. Why is that someone with less aggregate or scores was placed, but which is even higher aggregate or scores did not?
A. The system uses scores and program. Possibly the one who had placement had a less competitive school or program or residency than yours. It cannot happen that two people competing for the same school, same program or residency and one with lower mark will be placed.

Conclusion

In anyway, if you have any challenge you can contact the Ghana Education Service for assistance. They usually set up support centres to address issues pertaining the challenges people face during the placement.

The challenges faced during the placement are mostly due to the fact that the public do not have enough education. Government through the GES organized a sensitization program across the country to help parents, teachers, students and the general public about the nitty gritty of the whole placement exercise

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