Breaking: Federal Govt bows to pressure, announces school reopening, Nigerian students to sit WASSCE


By Emmanuel Olorunsola

The Federal Government has announced the reopening of schools for secondary schools exiting classes. The pupils are to resume on August 4.

The reopening of school announcement was made in a press release on Monday, July 27, 2020 from the Federal Ministry of Education, Office of the Director, Press and Public Relations, Mr Ben Bem Goong.

The press release which was posted on Twitter stated that students sitting for the West African Senior School Certificate Examination would be given two weeks to prepare for the exam which is to start on 17th of August, 2020.

READ ALSO: Lagos Schools to Reopen for SS3 Pupils on August 3

The Statement read, “Secondary schools in the country are to reopen as from the 4th of August, 2020 for exit classes only. Students will have two weeks within which to prepare for the West African Examination (WAEC) due to start on the 17th of August, 2020.

“These were the unanimous decisions reached at a virtual consultative meeting between the Federal Ministry of Education, Honourable Commissioner of Education of the 36 states, the Nigerian Union of Teachers, (NUT), the proprietors of private schools, and Chief Executives of examination bodies.”

“It was also agreed that the exit classes should resume immediately after Sallah break, from the 4th of August, 2020 to enable them to prepare for WAEC examinations scheduled to commence from the 17th of August, 2020.”

READ ALSO: School Reopening: Afe Babalola Makes Case for Private Universities

The statement also indicated that the  meeting resolved that a passionate appeal be made to the Federal Government through the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 and public spirited Nigerians for assistance to schools  across the country to enable them fast track the preparation for safe reopening, as agreed.

It noted that another meeting would be convened tomorrow between the Federal Ministry of Education and Chief executives of examination bodies namely, NECO, NABTEB and NBAIS to harmonise their examination dates, which will be conveyed to stakeholders expeditiously by the Federal Ministry of Education.

The Federal Government had earlier announced that schools should be reopened for students in terminal classes to enable them to sit for the exam that was to commence on August 4 and end on September 5.  But, this was cancelled as the Education Minister Adamu Adamu told State House Correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari,   two weeks ago that Nigerian schools would not reopen until it is safe to do so because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He also said Nigerian students would not sit for the 2020 WASSCE, noting that government preferred that the children lose one year than risking their lives.

READ ALSO: Reps ask Nigerian govt to reverse decision on 2020 WASSCE

Despite widespread criticism of the decision to exempt Nigerian pupils from sitting for the 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examination, the Federal Government has said it was standing on its decision.

The House of Representatives also asked the Federal government to reverse its decision. Similarly, the teachers and parents’ body, association of private school owners and several others prevailed on the government to rescind its decision.

Although the 19 state governors said they supported government’s decision, the six South-West states indicated their readiness to allow their pupils to participate in the 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examination despite the Federal Government’s position.

Meanwhile, the Founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, Chief Afe Babalola, has expressed disappointment with the Federal Government for failing to consider private universities in its plan of reopening schools in the country.

READ ALSO: WASSCE: South-West states to reopen schools, allow students sit exam

In a goodwill message at a Zoom meeting of Pro-Chancellors of private universities in Nigeria on Saturday, Afe- Babalola, said  that the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 had continued to leave out both private and public universities  in its daily briefings, adding that government should give consideration to private universities in its resumption plans.