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House committee asks Nigerian govt to reverse decision on 2020 WASSCE

The House of Representatives Committee on Basic Education and Services on Friday urged the Federal Government to reverse its decision to cancel the 2020 West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) in Nigeria.

The Chairman of the committee, Prof. Julius Ihonvbere, made the committee’s position known in a statement in Abuja.

The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, had said on Wednesday that all federal schools would remain closed until it was safe to reopen them.

He also urged state governments that had announced schools’ resumption plans to rescind such.

The minister said the West African Examination Council (WAEC) could not determine the resumption date of schools for Nigeria.

He alleged that the council announced the date of examination while the government was still consulting stakeholders on the matter.

However, Ihonvbere said the committee was amazed at the minister’s position that Nigerian students would not be participating in the 2020 WASSCE.

He added that Adamu did not inform the country if the position 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 lawmaker recalled that Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, had during Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefings, assured Nigerians that steps were being taken to ensure full compliance with all COVID- 19 protocols in schools.

Ihonvbere said: “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 and frustrate the students.

READ ALSO: 2020 WASSCE examination not cancelled —WAEC

“It would show our development partners and Nigerians that the distortions and disarticulations in the sector are only getting worse.

“The reversal also shows that our policy makers may just be adopting a laid-back approach to the need to confront the COVID-19 rather than taking proactive and creative steps to manage and contain it.”

The lawmaker disagreed with the minister and urged the Federal Government to urgently reconsider the decision in order to save the educational system in the country.

He added: “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.

“We recommend that WAEC quadruple its invigilators and use all classrooms and event centres to conduct the examination and comply with COVID-19 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.

“Students should come from home, write the paper and disperse immediately.”

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