The Education Ministry has discounted claims that about 400,000 students in second cycle institutions across the country are riddled with challenges as they ginger up to write their West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) this year.

The students are reported to be burdened with challenges such as inadequate examination halls, invigilators and science laboratories for practicals.

The problem is said to be compounding due to the fact that two batches; the fourth year and third year streams of students in Senior High Schools, will be writing the examination which is scheduled for April/May 2013.

But the Public Affairs Director, Paul Krampah has downplayed the reports, stating emphatically that the examination halls are adequate to accommodate the students for the impending WASSCE.

He revealed that the last four years of the late President Mills’ administration saw in construction 3000 classrooms to add up to the existing ones, which is a major boost in the education system.

Speaking on Okay FM on Wednesday, Mr. Krampah reacting to a revealing Daily Graphic publication explained that; “over the past four years, 3000 additional classrooms were provided in all the Senior High Schools throughout the country. So, now the children are being taught in classrooms. If there’s time for examination, the classrooms will be used for examination. In the second cycle institutions, we don’t have special examination halls as we have in tertiary institutions. So, if they are talking about they are scrambling for space, I don’t see anything extraordinary about that because they already study in classrooms and those classrooms can be used as examination halls for the impending WASSCE Examination.”

The Kufour administration expanded the duration of SHS from the initial three years to four years on a premise that the students will have ample time to be studious in order to churn out excellent teeming SHS students into the various tertiary institutions in the country.

The Kufour government believed the four-year programme would boost the performance of the students but his successor, the late President John Evans Atta Mills reverted the duration to three years, arguing that the school facilities were inadequate to accommodate the swarming numbers of the students.

A Daily Graphic Publication dated February 20, 2013 noted that; “With a few weeks to the commencement of this year’s West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), serious challenges such as inadequate examination halls, invigilators and science laboratories for practicals have been identified.”

It further revealed that “this year, 409832 candidates will sit the examination throughout the country, as against the 173,655 who wrote the examination last year. Some of the schools are wondering how to handle the candidates when they write core subjects such as English Language, Mathematics, Integrated Science and Social Studies. The challenge has necessitated the rescheduling of this year’s Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) from April to June.”

According to the publication, the schools are calling on the Education Ministry to enable the first and second-year students to go on holidays in order to get enough rooms for examination halls.

It also cited the inadequate number of invigilators for this year’s WASSCE as another problem the second cycle institutions are grappling with.

However, the Public Affairs Director of the Ministry says the stakeholders; the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS), have indicated their willingness to invigilate the examination even though they have requested allowance from the Ministry.

He told host Kwame Nkrumah that; “There is no cause for alarm because already over 3000 extra classrooms have been provided by the government. Such classrooms are adequately enough to be used as examination halls. So, there shouldn’t be any cause for alarm at all.”

The Education Ministry will hold a meeting with stakeholders on Thursday, February 21 to address their concerns.