The former President and Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 Presidential Election, Atiku Abubakar has said government’s policy of unilaterally cancelling the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) held annually by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), is not in the best interest of Nigeria.
In a statement by his media office, he said, at a period of the COVID-19 Pandemic virus, it was understandable that an abundance of caution be put in place to save lives.
Atiku noted that about 1.5million Nigeria youths write the WASSCE annually, adding that to abruptly cancel the examination will be set back to Nigeria’s youths, and they will be lagging behind their contemporaries in other West African nations.
It is perilous, because Foreign Direct Investment and other economic indications, are tied to the educational indexes of nations.
“Already Nigerian lags behind other African nations in crucial indices, like school enrollment, pass rate, 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 mobilize all available public and private infrastructure inducting primary school, stadia, and cinemas, for the examination.
“In the alternative, the Federal Government can prevail on WAEC to have a staggered examination 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 revered, tens of thousands, and possible hundreds of thousands of Nigerians, will breach social distancing rules to cross over to neighboring West African nations to write their WASSCE, rather than miss a year,” Atiku concluded.
The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu last week after a virtual Federal Executive Council(FEC) meeting announced that government will not reopen schools due to the rising case of COVID-19 Pandemic, adding that the government would prefer forfeiting the 2020 WASSCE earlier scheduled for August 4th to September 4th, 2020.