The House of Representatives has faulted the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu on the decision to cancel the conduct of the West African School Certificate Examination (WASCE) in the country.
Chairman of the House Committee on Basic Education, Prof Julius Ihonvbere argued that the decision was akin to a policy reversal which is not good for the country.
The lawmaker maintained that the decision is bound to create further confusion in the education sector, create disappointment and suspicion among parents, frustrate the students, and show development partners of the appalling level of the educational sector of the country.
Accusing Adamu of arriving at the decision unilaterally without the inputs of critical stakeholders in the education sector, he said the decision to cancel the conduct of the examination under the guise of protecting students from the coronavirus pandemic does not hold water
“He did not inform the country if this was in agreement with other West African leaders or in consultation with the examination bodies, the state governments and other stakeholders in the education sector,” Ihonvbere said.
“The Minister also did not also inform the public if the decision was the outcome of a meeting with all State Governments that are in charge of all but the Unity Secondary Schools that are owned by the Federal government.
“The reversal also shows that our policymakers 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.
“The House Committee disagrees with the Honourable Minister and believes that reconsideration is urgently needed to save our educational system on the following grounds: Nigeria is not the only country expected to write the examination in the midst of COVID-19.”
On the way out of the situation, the committee noted: “Nigeria should insist that the examination be based exclusively on the already covered syllabus of schools; The Federal Ministry should not chicken out of its responsibilities but take charge, provide policy direction, engage the states and other stakeholders;
“WAEC should quadruple its invigilators and use all classrooms and event centres to conduct the examination and comply with COVID-19 protocols; The ministry of Science and Technology, as well as the Ministries of Environment and Health, should immediately work out an agenda to fumigate all classrooms, provide handwashing buckets with soap and water, and facemasks to all students;
“The original plan of opening hostels for boarding to facilitate so-called revision classes should be cancelled immediately and the students should come from home, write the paper and disperse immediately.”
“Mr President should direct all his Ministers to return to their states, work with the Governors and ensure the smooth implementation of the policy and conduct of the examination.
“The House Committee appreciates the reservations of the Honourable Minister of Education. We are parents just like him. No Nigerian parent would want to delay, distort, even terminate the progress of their child.
“We are convinced that if our policy of no boarding house, the reconceptualising scope of exams, use of all classrooms and halls in the schools, quadrupling the number of invigilators, provision of facemasks, sanitizers and handwashing facilities are followed, the WASSCE can be conducted with ease and with no repercussions. Let us collectively save and advance our educational system and build a future we can be all proud of.”