Where in the world do parents struggle to enrol children in schools?

It is another period of enrolling students from Junior High Secondary Schools (JHS) into Senior High Secondary Schools (SHS. For years now, finding admissions for wards in SHS has been traumatic for many a parent in the country.

The computerized school place­ment system, which was supposed to be enhancing SHS admission procedures, seems to be creating more worries for parents and guardians as well as students.

JSS graduates and their parents have to struggle with or without access to computers and the inter­net to get to the school selection and placement website. They are faced with the inscription “Wel­come to the computerized school selection and placement system 2023” but the process is not wel­coming news.

Many have to travel long hours and distances to access what is termed as the “Placement Check­er” which costs between 10 and 30 Ghana Cedis depending on nation­al geographic location. In fact,10 Ghana Cedis will be automatically deducted from your mobile money wallet after payment while the other is the charges for using the internet and computer facilities at a CAFÉ or elsewhere.

This is just an aspect of checking. The checking of the BECE results also requires similar procedures and processes to satisfy oneself of proceeding to seek for placement of rewriting the exam­ination.

The 2023 Computerized School Placement was released on 16th February 2023 for students to check. “Last year, a total of 552,288 candidates made up of 276,999 males and 275,289 females entered for the BECE school examination. This includes 65 candidates with visual impairment, 427 with hearing impairment and 54 candidates with other test accommodation needs. Out of the total number of candidates who entered for the examination, 4,309 candidates were absent.”

“The BECE for Private Candi­dates recorded a total entry figure of 1,144 candidates. This was made up of 641 males and 503 females. Out of the total number of candidates who entered for the examination, 84 candidates were absent”.

Because of the Free SHS policy by the government, almost all of these students have to find place­ment in SHS across the country. Before the SHS the passing grade for entry into SHS which used to be aggregate 25 was scrapped to pave way for more candidates including those who obtained between aggregate 26-48 to gain admission to Free SHS.

Candidates with good grades compete favourably for schools that are deemed elite. Their choices of schools have huge connota­tions with their grades. As more and more students join SHS, the student population in these more popular schools is increasing at a high rate.

For instance, the Presbyterian Boys’ Senior School referred to as PRESEC, is an all-boys school that was started by the Presbyterian Church of Ghana. It has a popula­tion of 3000.

Achimota Senior High School was founded in 1924 by Sir Fred­erick Gordon Guggisberg, the Rev. Alexander Garden Fraser, and Dr. James Emman Kwegyir Aggrey. This institution also has a student population of 3000.

Ghana National College is a col­laborative educational community that focuses on fostering academic achievement in a nurturing environ­ment. This institution was founded by Dr Kwame Nkrumah in 1948, and currently has a population of 2800 students. Ghana National College welcomes students from different ethnic, socio-economic and religious backgrounds and is committed to the equality of all persons before God.

Prempeh College was found­ed with the intention of filling the void in secondary education in the Ashanti Region, and the Northern sector of Ghana. Its population currently is about 2500.

Aggrey Memorial Senior School, was founded by the late Rev. Dr. A.W.E. Appiah in 1940 and started off with only six students.

Accra Academy was founded in July 1931 as a private school, and later became a govern­ment-assisted school in 1950. It is a non-denominational day and boarding boys secondary school located in Bubuashie, close to Kaneshie in the Greater Accra Region. The student population currently stands at just above 2000.

Currently, this academy is one of the few schools in Ghana that has 60 per cent transition to tertiary institutions. Graduates of this academy are products of the dedication, discipline, devotion, and perseverance that form the foundation of this institution.

St. Augustine’s College is an all-male public institution located in Cape Coast, Ghana that boasts a student population of 2000. St. Augustine’s is the largest Catholic SHS in Ghana.

Adisadel College is another of the bigger senior high schools in Ghana with a student population of just about 2000, This institution was founded on January 4, 1910, by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (S.P.G.) and assumed its current name in 1936.

Opoku Ware School, usual­ly referred to as OWASS, is an all-boys senior high school with a population of approximately 1800 students, one of the biggest senior high schools in the middle belt of the country

Aburi Girls’ SHS, is also known as ABUGISS. This school is a Presbyterian all-girls SHS board­ing school located south of Aburi in the Eastern Region of Ghana. ABUGISS aims to be the greatest girls’ senior high school in Ghana currently, the student population stands at 1800.

In these schools among others, we are told there is what is termed as “protocol enrollment”which has been bedded in corruption. Corrup­tion matters were also “clothed” by some government officials.

This obviously has put untold pressure on the Heads of SHS. This year the school selection and placement system was no different from the previous ones when par­ents and their wards have to spend hours on end behind the offices of headmasters and headmistresses to seek admission.

For candidates with double-digit grades are then left at the mercy of the selection and placement sys­tem, corrupt heads of secondary schools. Most of them do not find themselves in any of their choices of selected schools. They then have to struggle to find a school to attend to secure their future.

Where in the world does this happen for parents to go through what the Ghanaian parent goes through to get his or her ward educated at the SHS level?

The Free SHS is a good social intervention policy though with some implementation challenges. It obviously has opened doors of op­portunity to many young ones who would not have had such a huge privilege of stepping onto a sec­ondary or high school compound. At the same time, it brought up huge relief to many parents who would not have seen their children being educated at that level, chiefly due to financial constraints.

Today, the basic and important right of the Ghanaian child has not only been established but impor­tantly, it has been preserved as a re­sult of the nation’s free SHS policy. They are also prepared to favorably compete on the global scene after their education. Admission into SHS must be looked at again be­cause there is so much to do to get the students and parents stress-free during admission periods.


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