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Reserving 30% of slots in A-list SHSs for public school students unfair – Private schools

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The Ghana National Council of Private Schools (GNACOPS) is expressing its displeasure over a decision by the government to reserve 30% of slots in ‘Category A’ Senior High Schools for students from public Junior High Schools.

According to GNACOPS, the move will deprive many students of private Junior High Schools placement in Senior High Schools.

It said about 24,000 students who have registered to write their Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) from private schools stand to be affected by the decision.

“The handbook, titled, ‘Computerized School Selection Placement System’ (CSSPS), designed by your office in collaboration with Ghana Education Service, has made a categorical statement to deny private school children equal opportunity and allocation to 73 Category ‘A’ schools in the country. In this handbook, pages 13 and 14 have it that, “30% of total vacancies declared by each of the Category ‘A’ schools are reserved for candidates from the Public Basic Schools (JHS) implying that 30% of the total vacancies declared by all Category ‘A’ schools is reserved for Public Basic School (JHS) candidates who have selected that particular Category ‘A’ school”,” the Council said in a letter addressed to the Minister of Education.

The government, through the Free SHS Secretariat, had earlier indicated that the Free SHS programme aims to ensure equity and that it will achieve that by reserving 30% of places in Category A’ Senior High Schools for students from public basic schools who have performed creditably at the BECE.

“Government is of the view that this policy will ultimately help narrow the social divide that has perpetuated itself in this country over the years and thus promote social mobility,” the Secretariat had indicated.

But the Council argues that the move is in breach of the country’s Education Act which calls for fostering of a good relationship with private educational institutions by “involving them in free and open participation in education programmes”.

“The National Executive members of the private schools’ Council and the entire membership, are not happy with this decision taken without their involvement and the failure of your office to take cognizance of Act 778, section 27, by instituting this guideline that will deprive many Ghanaian children who are in the Private schools equal opportunity, considering the number of parents whose children are in these private schools. It is the legitimate right of these children to enjoy equal opportunities with their counterparts in the public schools,” GNACOPS said in its letter.

It further urged the Minister to provide clarification to them on why the decision was taken, as it is against the rights of the students.

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