The House of Representatives on Tuesday urged the Federal Government to rescind the decision to bar Nigerian secondary school students from writing this year’s West African School Certificate Examination and other Common Entrance Examinations because of COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the globe.
The House, through a Motion sponsored by Rep. Nnolim Nnaji and others, said the examinations, should instead, be held under the guidelines issued by the National Centre for Diseases Control (NCDC).
While moving the motion, Rep. Nnaji observed that” the annual West African School Certificate Examinations scheduled to hold between April 6th and June 5th 2020, was shifted between August 3rd and September 5th 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic.
He noted that 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 alt the 5 countries that constitute the council before arriving at the new exam date and duration
He recalled that the Minister of State for Education, Hon Emeka Nwajiuba on Monday, July 6, 2020, during a briefing at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-I9 in Abuja announced that Nigeria would participate in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination scheduled between August 4, 2020, and September 5, 2020″.
He also expressed concern that on Wednesday, July 8, 2020, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, also announced that schools under the control of the Federal Government would not be opening for the forthcoming WAEC exams and urged state governments to toe the line of the federal government.
He lamented that 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.”
According to him, “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.”
He also worried 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”, adding that “in taking precautionary health and safety measures, the federal government reopened markets, airports, inter-state travels, religious centres, banks etc.”
He said he was “convinced that the government, could apply the same safety measures towards schools’ resumption to enable Nigeria to participate in exit examinations.”
The House resolved to urge the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhamodu Buhari to reverse the decision of the Federal Ministry of Education withdrawing Nigeria from participating in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination and other similar examinations.
The House also urged the Minister of Education to immediately implement the health safety measures outlined by the Federal Executive Council for the conduct of the examinations as well as provide soap, hand sanitizers and all other requirements stipulated by NCDC.
The House then mandated the Committees on Basic Education, Healthcare Services, Water Resources and Legislative Compliance to ensure compliance and report back to the house within two weeks for further legislative action.
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