Why we rejected the decision of the Minister of Education – House of Reps.

Femi Gbajabiamila (Speaker, House Representative.),

The House of Representatives Committee on Basic Education and Services has rejected the call by the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, to cancel the forthcoming West African Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE).

This was contained in a statement signed by the Chairman, Prof.Julius Ihonvbere, titled: “WASSCE should not be cancelled,” which was released on Friday, stating that the stakeholders were not informed before hand, and that the “policy reversal is not good for the country,” It is going to create further confusion in the educational sector.”

Read the full statement:

“The House Committee on Basic Education and Services received with amazement the announcement by the Honourable Minister of Education that Nigerian students would not be participating in the forthcoming WASSCE examinations.

“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.

“The Minister 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 Committee Chair said the Hon. Minister of State, in his usually consultative and participatory approach had briefed the nation at the Covid 19 presidential Committee briefing, over the airwaves and in an appearance before the House Committee on Basic Education where he assured Nigerians that all steps had or were being taken to ensure full compliance with all Covid 19 protocols.”

“This sudden policy reversal is not good for the country. It is going to cause further confusion in the educational sector, It will bring disappointment and suspicion among parents, frustrate the students, and show to 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 causal approach to the need to confront the novel Corona Virus rather than taking proactive and creative steps to manage and contain it.”

Prof. Ihonvbere also added that the House Committee on Basic Education totally disagrees with the Honourable Minister of Education and believes that a he needs to reconsider his decision urgently so as to save Nigeria’s educational system. He also listed seven basis on which the decision should be reversed and the examination successfully conducted.

He said: ” Nigeria is not the only country expected to write the examination in the midst of Covid 19; Hence “Nigeria should insist that the examination be based exclusively on the already covered syllabus of schools;

“The Federal Ministry of Education should not chicken out of its responsibilities but take charge, provide policy direction, engage the states and other well meaning citizens of the Country;

“WAEC should increase its invigilators by four times atleast and use all classrooms, event centres and possibly stadia, to conduct the examinations in other to fully comply with the social distancing and other protocols aimed at containing the spread of Covid-19;

“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/face shields 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.”

The committee also said “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/children.

“We are sure that if our policy of no hostels, reconceptualising examination scopes, making use of all classrooms, halls and stadia in or around the schools, increasing the number of invigilators by four times, provide facemasks/face shield, hand sanitizers and hand washing facilities are followed, then the examinations can be conducted with ease and with a good outcome.

The chairman of the committee
concludes  by saying “Let us collectively save and advance our educational system and build a future we can be all proud of.”

Image credit: pulse ng, thisdayonline,

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