Parliament has expressed concern about the plight of disabled candidates among final year students of the various junior high schools (JHS) across the country who will be writing the Basic Education Certificate Examinations (BECE) today.
According to the legislators, almost all the examination centres in the country were not disability friendly.
They, therefore, tasked the minister of gender, children and social protection to put in place measures to ensure that examination halls across the country were accessible to People Living with Disabilities (PLWDs).
The issue came to floor of the house when the Minority Chief Whip and Member of Parliament (MP) for Asawase Constituency in the Ashanti Region, Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka, last week Friday asked the Gender Minister, Madam OtikoAfisaDjaba, the kinds of steps her ministry was taking to ensure that the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) building in Kumasi was disability friendly.
In her response, Madam Afisa Djaba, said the WAEC Centre in Kumasi was commissioned in July 1993, at a time when disability issues were not on the front burner.
She explained that the centre had located the examination hall and the office of the controller, on the ground floor of the building for easy access by PLWDs; and the officials at WAEC have also indicated that portions at the entrance where there was an elevation of 2-3 inches onto the veranda will be levelled to make it more accessible.
The minister told members that her ministry launched the Ghana Accessibility Standard for the building industry in 2015 to ensure universal accessibility.
Madam AfisaDjaba revealed that all relevant institutions like the ministries of works and housing, roads; land use and spatial planning authority were engaged to enforce the inclusion of that provision in Ghana’s building regulations to become a requirement in construction.
“The National Council on Persons with Disability under my direction held meetings with officials at the WAEC headquarters on the need to make their facilities accessible to Persons with Disabilities.
“The WAEC office will be provided with a copy of the Ghana Accessibility for the building sector to guide the redesign of the existing buildings and new ones under construction,” he noted.
Madam AfisaDjaba assured the nation that her Ministry would monitor the situation at the WAEC Centre in Kumasi to ensure that the entrance work was done in the shortest possible time.
“Again, we are collaborating with key institutions to ensure that the provisions in the Standard are implemented, “she reiterated.
In another development, members of the House wished all the candidates well and advised them not to indulge in any malpractice.
The examination which begins today Monday, June 4, is expected to end on Friday, June 8, 2018.
The candidates are expected to write two papers each day, the first paper is English Language followed by Religious and Moral Education today.
Story: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH
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