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General News Sat, 21 Sep 2019

School placement confusion: Parents turned away by schools can sue GES – Lawyer

Parents and wards who were denied admission by the Mfanstipim School in the Central Region can sue the Ghana Education Service (GES), according to a law lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Justice Srem Sai.

According to him, the school had committed itself to admit the students by giving them prospectuses and for that matter had given the parents and their wards “what we call a legitimate expectation” to be admitted into the school.

“What that means is that if the person has done something to encourage you, you are entitled to rely on it. And if they renege, you have a cause of action against them,” he told Graphic Online in an interview.

He added that “By getting the self-placement done, it implies that they have been admitted and by following further to the school to get the prospectus, it means that the school is willing to admit them. Getting the prospectus, you are more entitled to be a student. So they will have a legitimate expectation that having gone through all the system only to be told that they are not part of the students, whatever mistake it was, it was not their making”.

Some first-year students and their parents who turned up at Mfantsipim School in Cape Coast with their trunks and chop boxes on Sunday, September 15, were stranded when they were turned away by the school authorities because the students had been wrongly placed.

The school authorities claimed the students, numbering more than 50, had been wrongly placed under the self-placement module of the Computerised Schools Selection and Placement System (CSSPS) and that they could not get space in the school.

System sabotaged

Meanwhile, the GES has explained that the mishap was as a result of some “bad” people trying to “sabotage” the CSSPS.

The Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku-Prempeh, at a press conference on Thursday explained that the slips that were printed prior to the shut-down of the self-placement module portal did not have certain vital information necessary for admission.

“If you look at the slips, the two self-placement modules slips, you see the real slip has clearly on it self-placement, [and] not only that, it tells you the track, the time school is reopening and whether the child is a boarding student or day student. But the fake one that came out, if you see, it has no self-placement embossed and some of the kids went to the school without indication of the track or when the school was opening. The residency was also not shown,” he said.

Fake slip vrs original slip

Although the Education Minister pointed out that the fake slips lacked vital information such as the type of placement (whether automatic or self-placement), the track, re-opening date and residency, an earlier self-placement slip available to Graphic Online failed that test.

Apart from the self-placement indication which was not embossed on the slip, the other three categories were provided for.



Evidence

Reacting to the GES’ explanation, Justice Sai said “It is not enough for them to say that the system has been compromised.”

According to him, the GES would have to investigate the sabotage and present a report on how it happened.

“They need to show evidence, how it was compromised and who was responsible,” he said.

“It is only then that the legitimate expectation can be knocked off,” he added.

According to him, if it so happens that the GES is found culpable by a court, the court would then be inclined to make an order compelling the GES to admit the students into the school.

He noted however that, that would also depend on the ability of the school to admit the affected students.

Source: Graphic.com.gh
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