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Unfair Rankings Of Second Cycle Schools In Ghana; The Unfortunate Aspect Of It And The Way Forward

In contemporary periods, the Ghana Education Service (GES) through the results and data made available by the West African Examination Council (WAEC)

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In contemporary periods, the Ghana Education Service (GES) through the results and data made available by the West African Examination Council (WAEC) ranked the second cycle institutions all over the country where the performances of the various institutions are compared in terms of their individual overall performances. This indicates the total number of passes in all subjects and their corresponding grades from ‘A1’ to ‘E8’ with the total number of students.

The classifications are foundations of challenges which motivate the various schools to put up sterling performances in order to achieve the best position amongst the second cycle institutions over a period, usually, at the end of every academic year when the WAEC releases the results of the various schools.

The classification also attracts potential Junior High School leavers to the schools that are positioned higher in the ranked table which brings prestige and bragging rights to both past students and current ones. These and many other benefits are derived from the ranking regime which is jointly produced by the Ghana Education Service and the West African Examination Council.

The second cycle schools are categorised into ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’, ‘D’ ‘E, ‘F’ and ‘G’ schools, where premium is mostly given to the category ‘A’ and category ‘B’ schools at the point of placing the Junior High School students who took the BECE examinations. This is the point many are of the view, that, there is discrimination in favour of the category ‘A’ and ‘B’ schools. The category ‘A’ and ‘B’ schools have always had the opportunity of selecting candidates with the best grades and no opportunity is given to candidates to do self-placement in the event that they do not get placements. It is after the best candidates had been selected that the rest would be placed into the sad category ‘C’ and ‘D’ institutions in the country.

As grouped by the Ghana Education Service, categories A to D schools are public or government Senior High Schools, while category E comprises public Technical/Vocational institutions. Also categories F and G schools Private Senior High/Technical Vocational institutions

The category ‘A’ schools such as Wesley Girls High School, PRESEC Legon, Augustine’s College, Opoku Ware School, Peter’s Boys Senior High School, Accra Academy, Prempeh College, Holy Child School, Keta Senior Technical School, and Mfantsipm School are household names when the best Senior High Schools are mentioned and it looks like these schools are reserved for the rich in our society. To gain admission to the above best SHS in Ghana is a dream come true for many however, others have failed to achieve this feat because of their raw scores. This means all things held constant, students must make very good grades as well as obtain high raw scores to stand any chance of gaining admission to one of the best dream schools at the SHS level.

Many in the education sector are of the view that the criteria used in ranking the schools is not the best and that GES and WAEC should change the way it is done before the teachers and management of the category ‘C’ and ‘D’ schools blame themselves for their student’s non-performance which is not the making neither the teachers nor the management.

For instance, preferences are given to the first two categories which is not the case of the last two categories. Kumbungu SHS which happened to be my former SHS and many other schools especially within the northern sector which included schools such Tolon SHS, Savelugu SHS, Karaga SHS Gushegu SHS are category ‘C’school whch in the just ended admission year, did not get students with better grades below the grade of 20. Almost all candidates that were placed in those schools had grades that exceeded the grade of 20 whereas the category ‘A’ schools admitted those with the best grades between 6 and10.

The category ‘C’ and ‘D’ schools would not have any big headaches if the various schools are ranked based on their categories. This will sanitise the process and better ranks everyone. But, to put all the schools together and ranking them is not the best since the placements were not evenly done.

I am appealing to the Ghana Education Service to take a second look at the second cycle institutions performance ranking system to help guard the integrity of the teachers teaching in those unfortunate schools which is never the fault of theirs but, a simple posting they have accepted to teach in those schools.

By Abubakari A. Ibrahim, a former basic school headteacher and current Kumbungu District NADMO Director.