The House Committee on Basic Education and Services has faulted the pronouncement of the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, on the 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examination, asking the Federal Government to reverse the decision.
Education Minister had said on Wednesday that Nigeria would not be participating in the regional examination organised by the West African Examination Council (WAEC), citing the need to ensure safety of the children as the reason for this. The minister had said that Nigeria would prefer for the children to lose one year than for their lives to be endangered. The minister also said schools would no longer be reopened for pupils in terminal classes as earlier announced by the Federal Government.
However, the Chairman of the committee, Julius Ihonvbere (APC-Edo), in a statement in Abuja on Friday, said that the committee was surprised that the minister could make such pronouncement on behalf of Nigerian students.
The lawmaker said that the minister of state for education had on several occasions assured Nigerians during live press conferences by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, that everything was being done to ensure full compliance with all safety protocols in schools.
Since Nigeria is not the only country participating in the examination, the committee said that the country should insist that the examination be based on the already covered syllabus only, adding that the Federal Ministry should take charge and discharge its responsibilities by providing policy direction and engaging the states and other stakeholders.
“This sudden policy reversal is bound to create further confusion in the education sector, create disappointment and suspicion among parents, and frustrate the students.
“The reversal also shows that our policy makers may just be adopting a laid-back approach to the need to confront the novel coronavirus rather than taking proactive and creative steps to manage and contain it,” he said.
The committee said that WAEC should use more invigilators, classrooms and event centres to conduct the examination and comply with COVID-19 protocols.
It also asked the Ministry of Science and Technology and the ministries of environment and health to work out modalities for fumigating all classrooms and providing hand washing buckets with soap and water, as well as facemasks to all students.
“Students should come from home, write the paper and disperse immediately,” adding, “no Nigerian parent would want to delay, distort, or even terminate the progress of any child.”