Following the decision of the Federal Government of Nigeria to cancel the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) for this year, former vice-president, Atiku Abubakar and former presidential media aide, Reno Omokri have kicked against the decision.
Recall that on Wednesday, July 8, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu had announced that the Federal government will be rescinding its decision to reopen schools for graduating students to take part in the WASSCE examination scheduled for August 4 to September 5.
Adamu said schools in Nigeria will only be opened when it is safe for students, a decision taken as a result of increasing number of confirmed Coronavirus cases in the country.
Reacting on the decision of the Federal Government via a press statement which was released on July 10, Atiku said canceling WASSCE examination puts Nigeria at more risk.
The former vice-president said the decision to cancel the examination which is not meant only for Nigerians, is not in the best interest of the country.
Atiku’s statement reads thus;
”As a parent and investor in the education sector, I wish to register the fact that the Nigerian government’s policy of unilaterally cancelling the West African Senior School Certificate Examination, held annually by the West African Examinations Council, is not in Nigeria’s best interest.
At a time of the global COVID19 pandemic, it is understandable that an abundance of caution be put in place to save lives. However, caution, without consultation, and thoughtful action, may be counter productive.
1.5 million Nigerian youths write the West African Senior School Certificate Examination annually. To abruptly cancel this examination is to set back our nation’s youth, and place them behind their contemporaries in other West African nations. This is perilous, because Foreign Direct Investments and other economic indicators, are tied to the educational indexes of nations.
Already, Nigeria lags behind other African nations in crucial indices, like school enrolment, pass rates, and out of school children. This action, will further create chaos in the public education system and exacerbate an already bad situation.
Rather than cancellation, there are better ways to protect the health of Nigerians and prevent the pandemic from escalating. We could mobilise all available public and private infrastructures including primary schools, stadia, and cinemas, for the examinations. In the alternative, the Federal Government can prevail on WAEC to have a staggered examinations with a different set of questions for each shift. Doing so will allow WAEC Nigeria implement social distancing and achieve the goal of carrying out the examinations. A win-win scenario.
I urge this administration to take into account that the lives they are trying to save will be further put at risk, because if this policy is not reversed, tens of thousands, and possibly hundreds of thousands of Nigerians, will breach social distancing rules to cross over to neighbouring West African nations to write their WASSCE, rather than miss a year.”
Likewise, the former Presidential media aide, Reno Omokri in his reaction said Nigeria’s education system does not have the capacity to handle an overwhelming number of students who would be ready to take the examination next year.
” 1.5 million Nigerians write WASSCE every year. Nigeria does not have the capacity to hold WAEC exams for 3 million people next year. What this means is that, if this policy is not reversed, every Nigerian child will miss a year, not just the final year students.
Edo has 2,210,534 voters, while Ondo has 1,822,346. A total of 4,032,880. WAEC has 1.5 million registered students in Nigeria. WAEC exams takes 5 hours. Voting takes all day. So, what is the rationale for suspending WASSCE, yet go on with Edo and Ondo elections?
Ghana opened schools for final year students and confirmed that WAEC examinations will hold. Meanwhile, Nigeria suspended WAEC exams. That is because Ghana’s President, @NAkufoAddo is a graduate of @UniofOxford, and General @MBuhari has questionable WAEC status!”he tweeted.