Fresh facts have emerged as to how the Federal Government made a u-turn on its initial decision to allow SS3 pupils sit for the 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
A reliable source at the West African Examination Council (WAEC), who pleaded anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, told FrankTalknow.com that contrary to government’s submission that the council fixed the exam dates unilaterally, the Federal Government indeed commissioned the council to come up with dates for the external examination.
According to the source, the Federal Government through the ministry of education had mounted pressure on the council to fix dates earlier than the August date for the regional examination. This development, our source added, had put the critical staff members of the council under “intense pressure” for months now.
“We have been working under pressure for months now because the ministry wanted everything done to ensure that the exam held before August.
“The Federal Government even wanted us to give them an earlier date for the exam. Every one of us at the council had to work overtime to come up with something workable.
“It is surprising that the same government that wanted earlier dates is now saying the exam should not hold. Now, they have made nonsense of all the efforts put into making these things work.
“It is also surprising that we are experiencing this level of lack of coordination in the education ministry. The same education ministry working with us is the same ministry saying the exam will not hold.”
Asked about the fate of Nigeria, should government insist on its position, the source said, “Nigeria can write its own exam in 2021. Nigeria’s decision will not stop others from sitting for their exams.”
Recall that the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, had announced last week that Nigeria would not participate in this year’s WASSCE.
Adamu, told State House Correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday that Nigerian schools will not reopen until it is safe to do so because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He spoke after the minister of state in the ministry, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, had on several occasions assured the nation that the exam would start on August 4 and end on September 5. He had also appealed to state governments to put safety measures in place and allow pupils in terminal classes to resume in preparation for the external examination.
However, Adamu Adamu said WAEC could not dictate the time to sit for the examination for Nigeria. He also said that government would prefer to have the children lose one year than to risk their lives by allowing them to resume school in the face of a spike in COVID-19 cases across the country.
READ ALSO: 2020 WASSCE: ANCOPSS expresses shock at FG’s pronouncement, says WAEC carried all stakeholders along
Meanwhile, the National President of the All Nigeria Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPSS), Mr Anselm Izuagie, had said that the association was fully represented at the education stakeholders’ meeting held last week where they all voluntarily agreed that WAEC could go ahead with its pending exam with all safety guidelines and protocols applied.
He had told journalists on Sunday that “The representatives of WAEC, National Examinations Council (NECO) and the National Board for Technical Education (NABTE) and other critical stakeholders in the sector were also in attendance.
“We all reviewed and considered the safety of everyone who would be involved in the exam and promised that all hands would be on deck to ensure no lapse is recorded only for the minister to announce the contrary the following day. That is why the news is shocking to us and also confusing.”