The former vice president of Nigeria and the presidential flagbearer of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 presidential election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has said that Nigeria’s decision not to let its students participate in the May/June 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) is wrong.
Recall that we reported on the federal government’s decision on the reversal of resumption of schools, saying no Nigerian school will participate in the regional examinations rescheduled to take place from August 4th to September 5th, 2020.
This year’s examination, administered by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), was postponed indefinitely in April after it was earlier scheduled to commence in May, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alhaji Abubakar, in a statement on Friday, said the federal government’s decision “will further create chaos in the public education system and exacerbate an already bad situation.” He also said that the cancellation will cause a set back for almost 1.5 million Nigerian youth who writes the 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.”
He said Nigeria already lags behind other African Nations in crucial indices, like school enrollment, pass rates, and out of school children.
Moreso, he stated that “rather than cancellation, there are better ways to protect the health of Nigerians and prevent the pandemic from escalating.”
“We could mobilize 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 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,” he said.
Alhaji Abubakar, urged the federal government to consider a reversal of the decision “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 neighboring West African Nations to write their WASSCE, rather than miss a year.”
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