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COVID-19: Reps reject FG’s cancellation of 2020 WASSCE

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House of Representatives has disagreed with the Federal Government on the alleged cancellation of 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examinations due to be conducted soon.

Speaking through its Committee on Basic Education and Services, the House expressed dissatisfaction over the statement of Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu that Nigerian students would not be participating in the examination WASSCE for fear of contracting coronavirus (COVID-19).

In a press statement signed by the Chairman of the House Committee, Hon. Prof. Julius Ihonvbere on Friday in Abuja, the lawmakers stated that the Education Minister did not inform the country if the 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 House called on the relevant ministers to immediately interface with various State governments and stakeholders in the education sector on how to conduct a hitch-free exercise.

They warned about the adverse effects of failing to conduct the examination.

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Ihonvbere said:

“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 Hon. 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.

“House Committee disagrees with the Honourable Minister and believes that 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, that 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; that WAEC should quadruple its invigilators and use all classrooms and event centres to conduct the examination and comply with COVID protocols.

“The Ministry of Science and Technology, as well as the Ministries of Environment and Health, should immediately work out an agenda to fumigate all classrooms, provide handwashing buckets with soap and water, and facemasks to all students; that the original plan of opening hostels for boarding to facilitate so-called revision classes should be cancelled immediately and the students should come from home, write the paper and disperse immediately and Mr President should direct all his Ministers to return to their states, work with the Governors and ensure the smooth implementation of the policy and conduct of the examination.

“We are parents just like him. No Nigerian parent would want to delay, distort, even terminate the progress of their child. We are convinced that if our policy of no boarding house, the reconceptualising scope of exams, use of all classrooms and halls in the schools, quadrupling the number of invigilators, provision of facemasks, sanitizers and handwashing facilities are followed, the WASSCE can be conducted with ease and with no repercussions. Let us collectively save and advance our educational system and build a future we can be all proud of”.

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FG raises penalty for hate speech from N500,000 to N5m

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The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Tuesday, reviewed the penalty for hate speech in Nigeria.

Mohammed disclosed the increment in penalty for hate speech from N500,000 to N5 million.

The Minister disclosed this at the unveiling ceremony of the reviewed Nigeria Broadcasting Code organized by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) in Lagos.

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A statement signed and issued by Mohammed’s spokesman, Segun Adeyemi said the reviewed code contained the Antitrust provision aimed at boosting local content and encouraging the growth of the local industry, among other provisions.

The statement reads partly:

“The amended Code also includes the provision raising the fine for hate speech from 500,000 Naira to 5 million Naira.

“Alhaji Mohammed clarified that the amendments were necessitated by a Presidential directive, in the wake of the 2019 general elections, for an inquiry into the regulatory role of the NBC with a view to repositioning the regulator for optimum performance.

“He said despite the attacks by some vested interests, who believe that their singular business interest is superior to national interest, over the provisions of the amended Code, the Federal Government remains unperturbed.”

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1.5m students to sit for 2020 WAEC exams

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WAEC

The 2020 West African School Certificate Examination is to be taken by 1,549,463 candidates in 19,129 centres nationwide.

The participants comprise 786,421 males, while the balance 763,402 are females.

The Head of Nigeria National Office (HNO) of the organisation, Patrick Areghan, made the disclosure yesterday in Lagos.

He added that the test, which holds between August 4 and September 5, would run daily from Monday to Saturday.

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In deference to existing COVID-19 protocols, the HNO said:

“Schools must provide wash-hand buckets with running water, soaps, hand sanitisers and thermometer hand-gun to check the temperature of all concerned.”

He continued:

“All examination functionaries, including the council’s staff on distribution, supervisors, invigilators, inspectors, candidates and school officials will be required to wear face masks, wash and sanitise their hands daily, and throughout the duration of the examination.”

Areghan asserted that the council would adhere strictly to physical distancing in the examination halls by ensuring that candidates sit two metres apart.

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UPDATED: WAEC releases 2020 WASSCE timetable

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WAEC Candidates

The West African Examinations Council has released the timetable for the 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examination.

The Federal Government had announced the resumption of graduating pupils beginning August 4, noting that WASSCE would begin effective August 17, 2020 through September 12, 2020.

WAEC Nigeria in a statement on Tuesday signed by its Head of Public Affairs, Demianus Ojijeogu, advised candidates to disregard other versions of the examination timetable in circulation.

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The statement was titled, ‘WAEC Releases Timetable For The Conduct Of West African Senior School Certificate Examination For School Candidates, 2020’.

The statement read,

“The West African Examinations Council, Nigeria wishes to inform its stakeholders-schools, parents and candidate-that the Final International Timetable for the conduct of WASSCE for School Candidates, 2020 has been released.

“The Council notes that several versions of the examination timetable have been in circulation and enjoins the general public to disregard them as they did not emanate from it.

“The examination which has been slated to begin on Monday, August 17, 2020 will end on Saturday, September 12, 2020.

“The Council hereby urges the candidates to abide by the rules and regulations guiding the conduct of the examination by shunning all acts of malpractice and obeying all Covid-19 protocols that have been put in place at the examination centres.

“This is wishing the candidates success in the examination.”

 

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