The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has said Education Minister Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh lacks the know-how on how to effectively run the Computerised School Selection and Placement System (CSSPS).
This was contained in statement signed by NDC Communication Officer Sammy Gyamfi following hitches with the system, which has left many students ‘struggling’ at the Black Star Square in Accra.
According to the NDC, the minister has failed to oversee a smooth placement of students to various senior high schools in the country, something his predecessors did effortlessly.
This comes after hundreds of students due for senior high school this year thronged the Greater Accra Region help centre at the Black Star Square to have issues with their placement resolved.
While some of these students have challenges for not being placed, others are there because they were turned away from schools they were placed to by the system.
The situation caused some chaos at the Square with some parents and students fainting as a result of the huge numbers.
This has, however, been denied by the Minister.
Reacting to these developments on Accra-based Asempa FM, Dr Opoku Prempeh said most of the people who were at the Black Star Square had no real challenges, and that they were bused by former president John Mahama and the NDC to make the Ministry and government look bad.
The NDC said in its statement that instead of the minister concentrating on addressing the challenges faced by students and parents with the placement, he is falsely accusing them and their leader.
This, the party says, is because the minister has no idea about how the system works, and the way forward towards resolving its challenges.
“This reckless comment which is very characteristic of Matthew Opoku Prempeh’s disposition to criticism since assuming office as Education Minister is shameful to say the least, and exposes his crass incompetence and cluelessness which have landed the nation in the Secondary School Placement quagmire we presently find ourselves.
“Having failed to manage a simple placement process, something previous Ministers of Education have been doing for the past decade, the least expected of Matthew Opoku Prempeh is to apologise to Ghanaians and show some remorse and sensitivity to the plight of these parents and their poor youngsters whose only crime is to go to Senior High School.”
The party said the treatment parents and students are being subjected to at the Black Star Square is the direct result of the inefficient management of the Computerized School Selection and Placement System (CSSPS) by government.
“…Thus, the current crises is the creation of the Mathew Opoku Prempeh-led Ministry of Education and a symptom of the leadership paralysis that has plagued all sectors of the country under the watch of President Akufo-Addo.”
The NDC also alleged the Education Minister had a new system developed for placement just a few months before the exercise took off, and that this amongst other things caused the hitches.
“The Education Minister could not deny the fact that competent GES staff who were trained under the Mahama administration to man the process have been arbitrarily removed and replaced with political apparatchiks.
“Neither could he deny the fact that the hitherto robust software which they inherited from the Mahama Administration was inexplicably discarded and replaced with the current one only three (3) months to this major exercise,” the NDC alleged.
Inquiry into CSSPS challenges
The NDC called on President Nana Akufo-Addo to conduct an inquiry into what caused the challenges with placement this year and ensure persons responsible are dealt with.
“…It is our considered view that the nation must ascertain the veracity of the numerous allegations of a dubious software, hacking and alleged corrupt practices on the part of officials of the Ghana Education Service and the Ministry of Education relative to this year’s Secondary School Placement, and above all, put appropriate measures in place to forestall any such future occurrence.”
They also urged the president to call the Education Minister to order regarding his utterances on the matter.
“The NDC demands an unqualified apology and retraction of the irresponsible comments by the Minister of Education, Matthew Opoku Prempeh within 24 hours, failing which he must be dismissed from office without delay to save this country from any further embarrassment that is if President Akufo-Addo is serious about the governance of this country.”