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WAEC, FG Settle For September 5 As New Date For 2020 WASSCE

The Federal Government has announced a shift in date of the 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) billed for August 4 to September 5, 2020, CAMPUS GIST reports.

The shift of the 2020 WASSCE was announced by the Minister of State for Education, Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, in a statement made available to CAMPUS GIST on Friday.

He said the development was a fallout of a meeting between the federal government and representatives of the West African Examination Council (WAEC), Nigeria.

CAMPUS GIST recalls that WAEC had earlier announced August 4 – September 5 as date for the 2020 WASSCE amid the coronavirus pandemic.

It was, however, opposed by the federal government with a declaration that Nigerian final year secondary school students won’t participate in the exams.

But in a statement on Friday, the education minister said the federal government and WAEC, Nigeria have agreed to shift the Aug-Sept date for the 2020 WASSCE to a new date to be announced later.

He explained that the decision was the outcome of a meeting between the Federal Government and officials of WAEC’s Nigeria office on Monday noting that both parties have agreed to further consult with four other countries on new examination date.

The minister also revealed that the government has given school owners in the country till July 29, 2020 to meet specific guidelines towards the reopening of schools at a date to be announced in due course.

Nwajiuba urged the schools to undertake self-assessment and send feedback to state Ministries of Education, not later than July 29, 2020.

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2020 WAEC: Reps, minister to seek audience with Buhari, govs

…House Committee on Basic Education to engage govs forum – Prof. Ihonvbere

The House of Representatives Committee on Basic Education and Services, the Ministry of Education and West African Examination Council (WAEC), Nigeria on Thursday met in Abuja and resolved to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari and governors on the WAEC examination, CAMPUS GIST reports.

CAMPUS GIST reports that the stakeholders in a meeting convened by the House of Representatives, however, agreed that if they were to make the September date for the examination a reality, there was the need to get Buhari and the Governors’ Forum involved in order to arrive at a timely and effective decision.

They agreed that in the interest of the 1.6 million candidates registered for the 2020 WAEC examination, there was a need to agree on a date for the regional examination as time was running out for the country.

One of the options was to find a date acceptable as the head of WAEC national office in Nigeria, Patrick Areghan, revealed that it would take quite a while to print question papers and that other convoluted logistic considerations might come into play.

Areghan said that Ghana had wanted to have the examination in June, but had to shelve it because of its election this year.

He also revealed that it took a presidential directive for the Gambia to shelve its desire to have the examination before now.

According to him, Nigeria should decide if it wants to give its candidates what he called a COVID-19 exam certificate or a WAEC certificate in concert with the other countries.

“Getting parents to pay another set of fees might be difficult if the September date is missed. If the November option is considered, someone has to pick the bills,” he said.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Sonny Echono said that WAEC was one of the institutions that espouses regional cooperation and having a standalone examination will defeat the element of unity it portrays.

He further noted that if there was adequate funding, it should not take more than a week to get the examination ready logistically for the 19,000 examination centres across the country.

In his contribution, Rep. Nnolim Nnaji wondered why that should be a problem pointing out that the Ministry of Humanitarian Affair spent over N13 billion as palliative for the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba reminded the members and all present that the decision they were to make was for examination date and not the resumption of schools in the country.

The members deliberated on if Nigeria could use its power as a provider of about 60 per cent of the finances in WAEC to dictate a date of its liking.

But stakeholders present eventually agreed that it was better to be democratic in arriving at a decision.

The chairman of the Committee, Rep. Julius Ihonvbere ruled that the committee would approach the state governors via the Nigeria Governors’ Forum so as to be on the same page and get President Muhammadu Buhari to assist in the diplomatic effort to get the other regional countries on Nigeria’s side concerning the yet-to-be-agreed examination date.

From L: Hon. Prof. Ihonvbere
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Reverse Your Decision On 2020 WAEC, House Of Reps Tell FG

The House Committee on Basic Education and Services on Friday said the 2020 West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) should not be cancelled in Nigeria.

The Chairman of the committee, Julius Ihonvbere (APC-Edo), made the committee’s position known in a statement in Abuja.

Mr Ihonvbere, a professor, said the committee was amazed at the announcement by the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, where he stated that Nigerian students would not be participating in the 2020 WASSCE.

The lawmaker said the minister did not inform the country if the position 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.

Mr Ihonvbere said he recalled that the minister of state for education had on several occasions during live press conferences by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, assured Nigerians that all steps were being taken to ensure full compliance with all COVID-19 protocols in schools.

“This sudden policy reversal is not good for the country; it is bound to create further confusion in the education sector, create disappointment and suspicion among parents, and frustrate the students.

“It would show our development partners and Nigerians that the distortions and disarticulations in the sector are only getting worse.

“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 lawmaker disagreed with the minister, saying that a reconsideration was urgently needed to save the educational system in the country.

“Nigeria is not the only country expected to write the examination in the midst of COVID-19; 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.

“We recommend that WAEC 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.

“Students should come from home, write the paper and disperse immediately,” he said.

He urged President Muhammadu Buhari to direct all ministers to return to their states to work with the governors to ensure smooth implementation of the policy and conduct of the examination.

According to the legislator, “we are parents just like the minister and no Nigerian parent would want to delay, distort, even terminate the progress of any child.”

He said that the committee was convinced that if the recommendations were implemented, the WASSCE could be conducted with ease and with no repercussions.

(NAN)

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WAEC: Cancellation Puts Nigeria At More Risk, Atiku Opposes FG

Former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has opposed Federal Government’s decision that Nigerian students won’t partake in this year’s examinations of the West African Examination Council (WAEC) in order to protect the students from contracting COVID-19.

In a statement he personally signed on Friday and made available to Campus Gist, Atiku, Founder of American University of Nigeria (AUN), Yola, in Adamawa state, said not taking part in the examinations will put Nigeria at more risk.

Campus Gist recalls that the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, had on Wednesday declared that Nigerian students won’t participate in this year’s WAEC examination already scheduled by the exam body for August to September.

The Federal Government specifically told Nigerian states that have already fixed dates for the resumption of students for the purpose of the WAEC exams to have a rethink and cancel it.

But Atiku in the statement on Thursday said cancelling the senior secondary school examination abruptly was not in the nation’s best interest, as it will further create chaos in the public education system and cause setback for the youths.

The Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate in the 2019 presidential election, therefore, urged the Buhari-led administration to take into account that the lives they are trying to save will be further put at risk by its actions.

The statement reads, “As a parent and investor in the education sector, I wish to register the fact that the Nigerian government’s policy of unilaterally cancelling the West African Senior School Certificate Examination, held annually by the West African Examinations Council, is not in Nigeria’s best interest.

“At a time of the global COVID19 pandemic, it is understandable that an abundance of caution be put in place to save lives. However, caution, without consultation, and thoughtful action, may be counter productive.

“1.5 million Nigerian youths write the West African Senior School Certificate Examination annually. To abruptly cancel this examination is to set back our nation’s youth, and place them behind their contemporaries in other West African nations. This is perilous, because Foreign Direct Investments and other economic indicators, are tied to the educational indexes of 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 a 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 WASSCE, rather than miss a year.”

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BREAKING: Nigeria Boycotts 2020 WAEC Exams

The federal government on Wednesday said Nigerian final year secondary school (SS3) students won’t participate in the forthcoming West African Examination Council (WAEC) examinations.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, while addressing State House Correspondents after the virtual meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), in Abuja.

The Minister argued that WAEC as a body cannot determine the resumption date of schools in Nigeria.

He said he would prefer that Nigerian students lose an academic year than to expose them to dangers posed by COVID-19.

Adamu declared that Nigerian schools will not reopen any time soon until it is safe to do so because of the coronavirus pandemic.

He, therefore, called on governors that have announced the resumption of school in their states to reconsider their position so as not to jeopardize the lives of the students.

Details later…

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