The Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh has described this year's school placement process as the best in the annals of the Computerised Schools Selection Placement System (CSSPS) despite the unfortunate scenes witnessed at the Placement Solution Centre at the Independence Square on Monday.
According to him, the evidence available pointed to the fact that this year's was an improvement over the previous years and nothing could change it.
"For the first time since 2005 when the system was introduced, more than 75 per cent of qualified applicants received placement before the reopening of schools and the noise did not reflect what is there," he said.
Addressing journalists in Accra yesterday, the Minister said currently more than 91 per cent of all prospective students had been placed and it was expected that it could go up by the close of the process.
Giving a breakdown of the processes, he said in all the 721 public schools declared vacancies of 520,298, while the complete results were 512,083 and out of this, 38,355 were disqualified either because they had nine which was a fail in either Mathematics or English.
He said the total qualified students therefore was 473,728 out of which 351,022 representing 74.10 per cent were auto-placed by the system and 122,706 representing 25.90 per cent did what was referred to as the self placement.
Out of this, he explained that protocol arrangements for category A and B schools were 10 per cent while that for category C schools was five per cent. In addition to this was the 30 per cent equity reserved for only category A schools which had always been the case.
Dr Prempeh said the choice pattern of prospective students showed that most of the students preferred the category A schools indicating that for example; a total of 5,106 people chose Wesley Girls even though vacancies declared was only 510.
Furthermore, 4,640, 5032, 10,755, and 18,918 chose Holy Child School, Mfantsipim School, Prempeh and Achimota colleges even though they each declared vacancies of 476, 1,021, 1,530 and 1,190 respectively.
According to him, most Ghanaians preferred the boarding system because it had become part of our tradition, stressing that " it is for this reason that, if you go and build day schools far away from the communities, you find it difficult to get students to fill."
Touching on the circumstances that led to the chaos at the Independence Square on Monday, the Minister said there were four categories of people who turned up at the solution centre.
These categories he said included; people who were not supposed to be there but were encouraged to be there, those who had placement alright, but had chosen to come and change their schools, those who came there because they wanted to change their programmes and those who genuinely when they were filling their forms, could not describe their gender so were placed in schools other than their sex.
"Since the inception of the CSSPS, it has never happened that everybody has got his choice school and every time people want to change the choice school that has been given to them by the computer, a centre had been created for them. Unfortunately an unanticipated people were encouraged to come to the Black Stars Square and misbehave," he added.
Dr Prempeh said he knew for a fact that people were called to come and misbehave at the centre and also to lambast government for the Free Senior High School programme, however, it was important that all Ghanaians realised that this was education and not a political activity.
He therefore called on Ghanaians to stand up and defend the system, adding that "This is education and it is not for any political party but for all of us."