Trouble between GES and Private Schools, Prof Opoku Amankwa ; JHS to write Entrance Exams
GES Director General Prof Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa on Asempa fm indicates he would have love for 100% or 80% of Public Basic schools to be admitted into the Governments Category A schools without any hindrance since he believes the second cycle is just a continuation of the (JHS) Basic School.
He also said in such an instance the Private Basic schools should be made to write entrance exams before being admitted into such schools.
Currently the Public Basic schools are given 30% slot into the Category A schools without hindrances,
and the 70 % is base on performance by any school whether Private or Public school that get the grade to compete.
According to the Director Prof Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa, in some developed countries, there are community schools of which when you graduate from the basic level you continue immediately to the next level unlike ours.
In such situations if a parent want a particular school for the ward then the family would have to relocate to that locality or community.
This his statement confirms the reason government has introduced the new common core curriculum programme where from Primary to SHS is seen as a Basic School thus Basic 1 to Basic 12. where Basic 1 is class 1 or primary 1 and Basic 12 is SHS 3.
To him the 30% is rather to be given to the private schools and even with that they go to the school to write an entrance exams. for admissions.
This comes as most private school authorities agitates on the bias in the SHS placement system where most of their students do not get admitted to the Senior High schools.
In recent development The Private Education Coalition spelt out the unfair treatment of private school students in the country when it comes to Placement and Even marking of their BECE Exam papers.
THE PRESS RELEASE BY PEC
PEC’s concerns regarding unfair treatment of private school students.
Some issues have been brought to our attention at the Private Education Coalition (PEC)- as an overarching coalition of Private education associations regarding the 2021 Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) results and placements of students from Private Schools into Senior High Schools (SHS).
It would seem that the performance of a significant number of Private school students was not as expected. All these students had aggregated scores which fell well below expectations based on their performances in school leading up to the BECE. This has meant that they are either yet to be placed in SHS or have been placed in their 5th or 6th choice schools through the automated Computerised School Selection & Placement System (CSSPS).
There is a collective incredulity at these happenings and has resulted in many distraught students, teachers and families.
This comes off the back of the contentious decision to ring fence 30% of places in category A schools to students from the public sector based on nothing more than the significantly better BECE scores attained by students from the Private sector. This has led to a huge increase in the number of students from private schools either moving (completely illegally) to Public schools or taking their examinations at public schools. Both of these practices are banned by the Ghana Education Service (GES), yet they persist with questions about how continuous assessment marks are produced at such a late stage in the students’ basic education.
It would seem that there is a further penalisation taking place perhaps because despite such, students from private schools are still performing exceptionally well.
It would seem private schools have become victims of their own successes.
The 1992 Constitution of Ghana is very strong in terms of human rights protection. Chapter V of the Constitution guarantees a number of fundamental rights and freedoms, which ‘shall be respected and upheld by all agencies. As a matter of principle, let us refer to “The Right to Education in the Constitution of Ghana”
The right to education guaranteed by the Constitution includes Article 25 (1) which provides as follows:
“All persons shall have the right to equal educational opportunities and facilities and with a view to achieving the full realisation of that right
The term, ‘all persons’, certainly includes all children (both public and private)
We wish to ask that the following be addressed:
Schools should be able to access students’ examination scripts, to scrutinise and challenge scores where appropriate.
West African Examination Council (WAEC) should offer an explanation of the marking procedure and the process of checks and double checks they have in place to ensure candidates are attaining their best possible scores from their subjects. We suggest that as a minimum, examiners mark ‘blind’ (as happens in other jurisdictions), so that they have no bias to public or private schools.
The percentage of students from private schools who were placed in their first choice school should be published for the last 4 years. That way we can analyse patterns in the data.
If the Government’s priority is to Public schools, then the Private Sector ought to be able to be self-governing (including setting up its own examinations board) and moving students into Private SHS.
Could we have further clarification and reasons for private JHS students having to take entrance examinations for SHS after taking the BECE as stated by the Director General, Prof Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa in the press this week? In this very same conversation on Asempa FM the Director General also stated unconstitutionally that 90% of places in public SHS ought to be reserved for public school pupils. This is extremely concerning and inflammatory and wish that this statement in particular be retracted with immediate effect.
PEC is vehement about the future of all children’s education and wish to reiterate that our concerns are borne out of what seems like the stacking of opportunities against students coming out of the private sector.In the National Pre-Tertiary Education Curriculum Framework for developing subject curricula for: Change and Sustainable Development, the National Council for Curriculum Assessment (NACCA) states the following with regards to the reason for the much-needed change in the foreword of the document.
“This is an essential step in ensuring that all learners in our schools receive high quality education aimed at ensuring that each learner reaches his or her full potential” ‘High quality’ does not mean unfair treatment of one group versus others, something acknowledged in all sectors of education that private schools are doing a great job already. Add to that the fact that private education contributes to the country by employing many and setting high standards of professionalism.
We wish to advocate for the equity of opportunity offered to all learners but not through what would seem like an intentional cutting off at the knees of a hardworking sector with parents who continue to sacrifice so that their children get a good education. Never mind the fact that these taxpayers are also contributing to the public purse to help educate other people’s children. Then parents could quite rightly advocate for tax breaks to maintain their children in Private schools.
Should these troubling developments continue, there will be a move to a distinct two-tier system which would not benefit the future of the country and the homogeneity that SHS education has been able to bring to Ghanaian citizens in the past?
We wish to have a serious discourse on the most equitable ways forward. Regards.
Evelyn Agyepong (Ms.)
Secretary -PEC Secretariat