Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, says the decision to cancel the 2020 West African Examination Council (WAEC) examination in Nigeria would have dire consequences for Nigeria’s educational sector.
In a statement on Friday, Atiku said at a time of the global COVID-19 pandemic, it was understandable that an abundance of caution be put in place to save lives, but added that caution without consultation, and thoughtful action, may be counter-productive.
“1.5 million Nigerian youths write the West African Senior School Certificate Examination annually, and to abruptly cancel this examination is to set back our nation’s youth, and place them behind their contemporaries in other West African 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 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 exams rather than miss a year.”
Recall that the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, had on Wednesday said that all federal schools across the country would remain closed until it was safe to reopen them.
He also said the West African Examination Council (WAEC) could not determine the resumption date for schools for Nigeria.
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