President Muhammadu Buhari has been asked to intervene in the confusion created by the Minister of Education on the exact date schools will reopen to enable students to take the West African Senior and junior schools certificate examinations, already fixed for August 4 to September 5.
In this report, AIT examines the implications of the minister’s action, which has been receiving mixed reactions from several quarters.
Nigeria’s Education Minister, Adamu Adamu, at the Presidential Villa, recently suspended schools resumption for the West Africa senior and junior secondary three certificate examinations already scheduled by WAEC Nigeria and confirmed by his Minister of State, Emeka Nwajuba, at the weekly Covid-19 Presidential Task Force briefing.
While Adamu gets the support of the 19 northern states governments through their education commissioners, the south west states at a virtual meeting initiated by the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria, DAWN, in collaboration with the forum of South-West education commissioners, special advisers on education, and the state universal basic education board chairmen, resolved to go ahead with school resumption
Before now, the Lagos, Ekiti, and Oyo states have already fixed dates to reopen schools.
While the national body of the Nigeria Union of Teachers remains indecisive on the matter, the Lagos State chapter Chairman, Adesina Adedoyin, kicked against any attempt to reopen schools in the state.
These latest developments leave the south-south and south-east states sitting on the fence with WAEC getting confused
Last week the ministry of education released a new fifty- two paged guidelines in preparation for schools reopening, with a date July 29 for schools to show readiness to comply.
Lately too, the education minister of state, Emeka Nwajuba has been meeting with WAEC, Private school owners and parents among other key stakeholders for a possible date to reopen schools.
But some school of thoughts feels that all ongoing arrangement with the minister of state may come to naught, except and until the Education Minister is evidently seen to be part of deliberations, to avoid a sudden reversal of decisions already reached
While the debate goes on, WAEC which has Nigeria as one of its biggest partner may be forced to succumb to pressure to fix a separate date for Nigerian candidates, but what If this arrangement fails?
On Friday, the media was flooded with news that WAEC and Nigeria have agreed on a date in September for WASSCE, but Director of Press, Ministry of education, Ben Goong, refuted the publications saying “…we met with WAEC and have agreed to further consult with the other countries for a new examination date. This is unambiguous and requires no further interpretation…the earlier date set by WAEC has been set aside at the instance of Nigeria. A new date will be announced by WAEC….”
While consultations are on, the number of Coronavirus infections in Nigeria keeps increasing, causing a further scare among parents. But the virus has no cure yet, neither is there a vaccine? Will schools remain shut until a cure or a vaccine is developed?
WAEC was established in 1952 to conduct the senior secondary school certificate examination in Ghana Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Gambia and the junior secondary school examinations only in Nigeria and Ghana.
(Editor: Paul Akhagbemhe)