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Free SHS: All qualified candidates will get placement - Education Minister Assures

Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Minister for Education, yesterday gave the assurance that the over 150,000, out of a total of about 460,941 candidates who passed the recent Basic Education Certificate Examination, and were not captured in the initial placements into senior high schools, would get placements into schools where vacancies exist.

Dr Opoku Prempeh explained that the situation whereby some candidates do not get placement is not unusual.

“There is nothing wrong with that. For years, it happens that some don’t get the schools they choose. It’s not the first time it is happening. In fact, since time immemorial, even going to the university, some students don’t get the courses they choose and they have to choose a different course. So that is a normal thing.

“What we used to hear every year was that those who didn’t get their choices were placed by the CSSPS in certain schools and there was uproar around the country from students who claimed they didn’t choose those schools and they were being put there. So what we’ve done this year, after placing all those who got a choice of their own, is that those who didn’t get any of these schools that they wanted… are being given a second chance to go and visit the website and choose from the schools where vacancies exist,” the Minister said in an interview on ClassFm.

Meanwhile, Yaw Adu Twum, Deputy Minister of Education in charge of Secondary Education, at a press briefing, revealed that 92 per cent of 2017 BECE candidates qualified to be placed in the various schools across the country.

“At the end of the placement, we had about 92 percent of the students declared as placed in regards to the fact that there are seats for them,” he said.

Dr Adu Twum explained that 60 per cent of the candidates had already been placed in their choices of schools.

“About 60 percent out of the 92 have already gotten their schools and then about 40 per cent have challenges with their enrolment,” he said.

According to the deputy minister, unlike the previous years when students who had challenges with their enrolment were forced to enroll in any school, this year, the ministry has put a different measure to address the challenge.

“This year, what we decided to do differently is that after we do the initial placement whoever did not get placed will have the opportunity to go to a website and at that website, the candidate together with the parent go through the list of schools that is most convenient to them,” he stated.

He further stated that the Ministry had set up a hotline – 0302747778 – and WhatsApp line – 0207407499 – at its secretariat for parents to reach out should they find difficulty with the self selection process of placement.

As part of efforts to ensure that this new structure benefits both candidates in the rural and urban parts of the country, the Education Ministry is working assiduously to ensure smooth access to website.

“We are resolving issues with internet connectivity. We have acquired new servers and making sure we have backup plans as we are working with NIIT and options around the country in terms of internet café so that parents can place their children in schools,” Dr Adu Twum emphasized.

He, therefore, urged parents not panic about the enrolment of their wards because the Ministry was working efficiently to ensure that their children were placed in schools.

The deputy minister, however, mentioned that about 36,000 students, making up for about 8 per cent of the candidates failed their examinations and so could not be considered for placement.

He therefore urged the students to work very hard, by re-siting and passing the examinations, in order to enable them get placements the next academic year.