OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives has called on the Federal Ministry of Education, to hold off its decision against having Nigerian secondary school students sit for the West African Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
The House also urged the minister to immediately implement the health safety measures outlined by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for the conduct of the examinations as well as provide soap, hand sanitizers and all other requirements stipulated by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
The House accordingly resolved to mandate the House Committees on Basic Education, Healthcare Services, Water Resources and Legislative Compliance to ensure compliance and report back within two weeks.
The following resolutions were sequel to a motion sponsored by Mr. Nnolim Nnaji (PDP, Enugu) and others.
Contrary to the position by the ministry of education, the motion said the examinations should be held under the COVID-19 guidelines.
Leading debate on the motion, Nnoli disclosed that” the annual West African School Certificate Examinations scheduled to hold between April 6th and June 5th 2020, was shifted to between August 3rd and September 5th 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic.
“The choice of August 3rd to September 5th 2020 period for the conduct of the examination was not arbitrarily set. Rather, WAEC consulted extensively with the government of all the 5 countries that constitute the council before arriving at the new exam date and duration.”
The lawmaker recalls that the Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba on Monday, July 6, 2020, during a briefing at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-I9 in Abuja, announced that Nigeria would participate in the examinations.
He however expressed concern that on Wednesday, July 8, 2020, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, announced that schools under control at the federal government will not be opening for the exams and urged state governments to toe the line of the federal government.
The lawmaker further said he was “disturbed by the contradictory pronouncements of the top officials of the federal government within such a short space of time, as Nigeria’s non-participation in this year’s examinations portends serious psychological, socio-economic and health effects on the students as well as the already overburdened parents and guardians.”
He added that “the negative and culminating effects of the government‘s action in seeking to withdraw Nigerian students from the examinations, will be devastating on our educational system and Nigeria’s economy at large” and argued that “this sudden policy reversal is and will be detrimental and create further confusion and uncertainty in the educational sector as well as frustrate the student’s lifelong ambitions and send wrong signals to stakeholders and investors.
He argued that if the government could take “precautionary health and safety measures, the federal government reopened markets, airports, inter-state travels, religious centers, banks etc” same “could apply the same safety measures towards schools’ resumption to enable Nigeria participate in exit examinations”.
The motion was unanimously adopted when the presiding officer put the question.