The House of Representatives on Thursday met with stakeholders in the education sector on the ways schools could be reopened to allow pupils sit the West African Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
The House Committee on Basic Education and Services (BES) held a roundtable with the Federal Ministry of Education and West African Examination Council, Nigeria, to discuss the matter.
The House resolved to meet with the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), which is expected to lobby the President, President Muhammadu Buhari, to order reopening of schools.
The stakeholders at the meeting agreed that if the September date for the commencement of WASSCE is to be met, there was the need for Buhari and the NGF to be involved in coming up with a timely and effective decision.
They agreed that in the interest of the 1.6 million candidates registered for WASSCE, there was the need to agree on a date for the regional examination. One of the options is to find an acceptable date.
The Head of WAEC National Office, Nigeria, Patrick Areghan, told the attendees about the logistics involved in the conduct of examinations, noting that it is a long process to print question papers, while preparedness for the examination takes so much from WAEC.
The WAEC boss, therefore, urged Nigeria to decide whether to allow its pupils to have COVID-19 certificate or a WAEC certificate.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mr Sonny Echono, said WAEC is one of institutions that encourage regional cooperation, warning that organising a stand-alone examination for Nigeria will defeat the element of unity it portrays.
Echono further noted that if there was adequate funding, it should not take more than a week to get logistics ready for the examination in the 19, 000 centres across the country.
The Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, pointed out to the lawmakers that the issue was on the date of the examination and not resumption of schools.
The Chairman of the committee, Prof. Julius Ihonvbere, ruled that the lawmakers would get Buhari to use diplomatic means to get other countries in West Africa to agree with Nigeria on WASSCE postponement.