Factors to consider during Placement of students into SHS in Ghana using CSSPS

    The Computerised School Selection and Placement System (CSSPS) is the only medium through which the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) graduates shall be placed into the various Senior High Schools (SHSs) in Ghana.
    Categories of Students
    Category 1: Qualified candidates who completed that academic year (E.G .2014)
    • Category 2: Re-entry Candidates who completed 3 years back (2014 will be
    2011-2013)-Forms are already on sale at all district education offices throughout the
    • Category 3: Foreign Students (Ghanaians & Non- Ghanaians) who schooled
    The Placement Process/Criteria

    The placement process begins using the candidate’s aggregate from his or her four core subjects (English, Maths, Integrated Science and Social Studies) plus the two best grades from his or her elective subjects.

    The vacancies declared earlier by each school are then fed into the Computerized School Selection and Placement System (CSSPS).

    There are three modes by which placement is done under the CSSPS: 1. Automatic Placement Self-Placement and Manual Placement.

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    This is the process by which the CSSPS places the students by merit into one of their chosen schools in descending order. This is run automatically without any manual intervention.
    Factors to consider during Automatic Placement
     A number of factors influence the automatic run for placement in schools. These factors include;
    The competitive nature of the school, these include the programme competition and the residential choice (day or boarding). Also, 30% of places are reserved for public school graduates.
    Other factors include the Number of Grade ones, Raw Scores and the Subject Performances, which leads to the use of a process known as Tie-Breaking.
    The Automatic Placement Process

    If the candidate’s aggregate falls within the merit of the programme chosen for their first choice, the CSSPS then checks the student’s preferred residential status for space and places him or her accordingly. If the desired residential status is full, the CSSPS moves him or her to the second choice.

    For instance, if a student with aggregate 8 would otherwise get a place in school A but has chosen the more competitive boarding option and space is full because other candidates with a better aggregate have secured placement into the boarding house, then the system will not place him or her on day status in that school because the DAY option was not the candidate’s choice.

    The system will move to their second-choice -school to attempt to get both their programme and residential choice. If unsuccessful, the system will proceed to their third choice and so on. The process is repeated until the student is placed.

    Where a candidate has chosen a school both as boarding and as their compulsory day choice, if the system is unable to secure boarding space for him or her, it will then seek to place him or her on the day basis in that school.

    Further Explanation of the Automatic Placement Process
    Whilst Aggregate 10 is a decent grade, it will definitely not get you into the ultra-competitive science programme at GeyHey from a private JHS, whilst there is a better chance of getting into the same GeyHey to read the less competitive Home Economics programme.
    Note further that you cannot switch programme choice at this stage. In other words, if you chose science in a particular school and your grades are unlikely to get you into that programme, you cannot request to be placed in the Business or Visual Art programme in that school or any other school.
    If you are not successful in your programme choice in your first-choice school, you will simply be moved to your second choice school for an attempt to place you there. If unsuccessful, you move to your third, and so on.
    Automatic Placement when there is Tie-Breaking

    This happens in instances where a student may not be successful during  Automatic Placement in a place at any of his/her school choices.

    Self-placement is a process that allows such candidates an opportunity to go into the CSSPS portal and select from schools with available vacancy.

    Features of Self-Placement

    i. Only Schools with available vacancies will be displayed on the portal.

    ii. Schools with vacancies will be displayed for candidates to choose based on their aggregate.

    iii. Schools shown will have their location and residential options available

    iv. Candidates can change schools as many times as possible depending on available spaces. The opportunity to change CEASES immediately the candidate enrols in a school.

    Procedure for Self Placement

    Candidate will log into the system using their index number

    Candidate will choose his/her residential preference i.e Day or Boarding.

    a. If a candidate selects boarding, all schools with boarding vacancies will be displayed.

    b. If a candidate selects day, then there will be a drop-down menu for the candidate to select;

    i. Day within catchment area or

    ii. Day outside catchment area

    c. Day within catchment area displays only schools with day vacancy within 16km of the JHS that the candidate attended.

    d. Day outside catchment area displays all schools with day vacancies.

    Before day outside catchment area is effected; the candidate must confirm again if they intend to attend school outside their catchment area as a day student.

    Candidate is also able to select their preferred programme.

    Once they confirm from the list of available schools that meet their preferences, they are then placed in the school by the system and can print out the placement sheet and go to the school to enrol.

    At all times, therefore, the candidate is in full control of where he or she chooses to place himself. In many cases, candidates leave the self-placement process to internet cafe attendants, who then selects a school without recourse to the candidate.

    The candidate then rushes to Independence Square to complain that the system has placed him or her to Mpraeso or Atebubu when s/he lives in Nungua, and with an attentive media looking for scoops, this is a perfect story of CSSPS incompetence.

    You push the candidate or parent and s/he admits it was given to a cafe attendant to process and they left the cafe and came back later.

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    Prior to the initiation of the Computerized School Selection and
    Placement System (CSSPS), the selection and placement of students in second
    cycle institutions was machine-driven and labour-intensive.
    The manual system was laborious and time-consuming. It was also characterized by
    several limitations and flaws such as misplacement of student registration
    cards and forms, wrong shading of index and code numbers by students and
    heads of Junior High Schools (JHSs), undue delay in admissions as well as
    loss of admission letters.
    Furthermore, the manual system was highly susceptible to human manipulation and machinations such as bribery and corruption. Rich and affluent parents used their monetary influence to secure placement for their wards in good and extremely endowed schools to the disadvantage of good students from poor homes.
    Similarly, the influence and pressure from “old boys” and “old girls” associations, PTA officials, protocol admissions and insatiability by some heads of second cycle institutions
    plagued the admission procedures of the manual system.
    Additionally, before the introduction of the CSSPS innovation, heads
    of very good and highly endowed schools indiscriminately and unilaterally set
    high personal cut-off grade points and admission standards to attract only the
    exceptionally good and gifted students to the detriment of the less brilliant and
    rural setting students.

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    Furthermore, in the era of the manual system, the period of the release of the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) results was a terrible period for parents and students. Nervous parents had to travel to the selected schools of their wards to ascertain the admission status of their wards and to pay the admission fee on time to secure the place else it will be given to another person.
    Indisputably, these problems that lumbered the manual system made it
    unbefitting as a selection and placement tool.


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    Avatar of Ellis Ferdinand
    Ellis Ferdinand is a Journalist, Blogger and Founder of Ellis Multimedia, a parent company of EducationGhana.org, an Online Education News Blog, PoliticsGhana.com and GhanaNaija.net. Ellis Ferdinand is a Graduate of Accra College of Education and the University of Cape Coast, where he obtained a Diploma In Basic Education and a Bachelor of Education in Accounting. He is currently Reading his Master of Philosophy in Curriculum and Pedagogic Studies at the University of Education, Winneba in Ghana. Ellis Ferdinand won Blogger of the Year at the 2018 National Students’ Awards and was also adjudged 14th Best Ghanain Blogger in 2018 among the Top 50 Ghanaian Bloggers of 2018. He introduced the Concept of Education Blogging in Ghana in 2014 with his famous blog EducationGhana.net. now EducationGhana.org His Blog won Best Media Promoting Education in 2017, 2018 and 2019 respectively, an Award organized by Neogenics Education Consult. In 2019, He adjudged the Most Promising West African Blogger of the Year in Nigeria. He won Writer of the Year at the 2021 EDUCOM AWARDS


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