The House of Representative Committee on Basic Education and Services yesterday disagreed with the Federal Government’s decision not to allow students in SS3 classes to participate in this year’s West Africa Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
In a press statement signed by the Chairman of the Committee, Prof. Julius Ihonvbere, he stated that the Committee was shocked and disappointed by the decision.
“The House Committee on Basic Education and Services, received with amazement the announcement by the Honourable Minister of Education that Nigerian students would not be participating in the forthcoming WASSCE examinations.
He did not inform the country if this 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 Minister also did not also informthe public if the decision was the outcome of a meeting with all the State Governments that are in charge of all but the Unity Secondary Schools that are owned by the Federal government.
“The Honourable 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.
The 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,”
Ihonvbere further stressed by saying that “The reversal also shows that our policy makers 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.
“The House Committee disagrees with the Honourable Minister, and believes that reconsideration is urgently needed to save our eduducational system on the following grounds”
The Professor noted that the Committee was rejecting the policy on the ground that Nigeria was not the only country participating in the exam.
“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; 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 hand washing buckets with soap, water and facemasks to all students; the original plan of reopening hostels for boarding to facilities so-called revision classes should be cancelled immediately and the students should come from home, write the paper and disperse immediately.”
He urged President Muhammadu Buhari, to “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.”
He said “The House Committee appreciates the reservation of the Honourable Minister of Education. We are parents just like him. No Nigerian parent would want to delay, distort, even terminate the progress of their children.
We are convinced that if our policy of no boarding house, reconceptualising scope of exams, use all classrooms and halls in the schools, quadrupling the number of invigilators, provision of face masks, sanitisers and hand washing facilities are followes, the WASSCE can be be conducted with ease and with no repercussions. Let us collectively save and advance our educational system and build a future we can all be proud of.”
The Minister of Education Adamu Adamu, has come under heavy criticism from some stakeholders in the education sector, after he announced on Wednesday that Government-owned Secondary Schools will not be allowed to participate in this year’s WASSCE, which was scheduled to begin on August 4, 2020.