The House of Representatives on Friday said the cancellation of the West African Senior Secondary School Examinations [WASSCE] will truncate the future of Nigerian children.
WuzupNigeria reports that the examination, administered by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and held yearly in May, was postponed indefinitely in April after schools were shut down across the country in a bid to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, announced during a media briefing on July 6 that the examination will now take place between August 4 and September 5.
But the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, on Wednesday 8 July 2020 at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided by President Muhammadu Buhari cancelled examination, saying he would prefer that “Nigerian students lose an academic year than to expose them to dangers” of COVID-19.
He added that the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) cannot determine the resumption date of schools for Nigeria.
But the Chairman of the House Committee on Basic Education, Prof Julius Ihonbvare, who made the position of the House known in a statement in Abuja said the announcement by the minister was done without due consultation with relevant stakeholders in the education sector.
He said the Education Minister did not inform the country if his decision was in agreement with other West African leaders or in consultation with the examination bodies, the state governments and other stakeholders in the education sector.
“The minister also did not also inform the public, if the decision was the outcome of a meeting with all state governments that are in charge of all, but the unity secondary schools that are owned by the federal government.
“The Minister of State, in his usually consultative and participatory approach, had briefed the nation at the COVID 19 Presidential Committee briefing over the airwaves and in an appearance before the House Committee on Basic Education where he assured Nigerians that all steps had or were being taken to ensure full compliance with all COVID 19 protocols.
“This sudden policy reversal is not good for the country. It is bound to create further confusion in the education sector, create disappointment and suspicion among parents, frustrate the students and show to our development partners and Nigerians that the distortions and disarticulations in the sector are only getting worse.
“The reversal also shows that our policymakers may just be adopting a laid-back approach to the need to confront the novel coronavirus rather than taking proactive and creative steps to manage and contain it.
“The House Committee disagrees with the minister and believes that a reconsideration is urgently needed to save our educational system on the following grounds that Nigeria is not the only country expected to write the examination in the midst of Covid-19.
“Nigeria should insist that the examination be based exclusively on the already covered syllabus of schools; the Federal Ministry should not chicken out of its responsibilities but take charge, provide policy direction, engage the states and other stakeholders, while the WAEC should quadruple its invigilators and use all classrooms and event centres to conduct the examination and comply with Covid-19 protocols.”