The Ghana Blind Union(GBU) has accused the West African Examination Council (WAEC) of discriminating against blind students who write the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
The Union disclosed that over the years, WAEC often fails to brail the exam papers of the blind students and their papers are either not marked or the results are not released.
“Sometimes, the impression is created that the papers are not even marked because we have situations where some of them virtually have identical results,” said the Executive Director of the GBU, Dr. Peter Obeng on Citi FM Eyewitness News.
According to him, they were particularly concerned about their students who were taking part in the on-going WASSCE because they were unable to write their first paper which was Integrated Science because their question papers were not brailed.
He remarked that this year, the Union is “very dissatisfied particularly anxious and very apprehensive, in that for the first time, blind students are doing science and in spite of communication from the schools and the Special Education Division to WAEC, reminding them that these students are duly registered and therefore they should make special provisions, the students didn’t have their exam questions brailed.”
Although WAEC is said to have admitted not brailing the question papers, the Council has promised to allow the students to write the paper in November; a solution the GBU has described as a “compromised right.”
Dr. Obeng remarked that “the students have learnt to write the exams now but now they have been given this compromised right in November which is almost at the end of the year. How fair is that?”
He argued that WAEC “doesn’t give our papers the seriousness that it deserves. How can you write the exam and not brail their questions?”
“Last year we had a similar problem. They wrote the exam because they got their questions brailed but some of them did not get their results. We are concerned…these are special persons who are writing the exams and we expect that WAEC will pay serious attention to their scripts and make sure that their results come out,” he demanded.
He recalled that last year, due to the delay in the release of the results of some blind students, they were unable to apply to tertiary institutions because admissions had been closed.
“This is an avoidable, unfair exam situation and the students are made to pay for it,” he said, stressing that, “these people have equal rights just as anybody else so if you can print question papers, you should be able to print their question papers as well.”
The GBU is therefore demanding that WAEC must cease discriminating against their students and “if they don’t correct the issue, that will be discrimination and unjust and we see our next line of action so we are expecting that they will do the right thing.”