FORMER Vice President, Atiku Abubakar has given federal government a thumb-up for reopening schools for the final year students to write their graduating examinations.
Atiku, who is also the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last election gave the commendations through his social media handle shortly after the Federal Ministry of Education issued a statement after its meeting with key stakeholders which resolved to reopen schools for the exit class from August 4, 2020.
“The announcement by the Federal Ministry of Education that the WAEC exam will hold in August is commendable. Learning must go on, especially for exit stage students. I do hope, however, that students writing the exams are well prepared through home study during the lockdown. I wish them the very best.
“I commend the FMoE for acceding to the patriotic counsel that myself and other well-meaning Nigerians and organisations gave with regards to not cancelling the WASSCE exams, he stated.
Earlier, the former number two citizen joined other well-meaning citizens to call for reopening of schools for the final year students to circumvent the crisis it may bring up. His statement then reads;
“WAEC cancellation puts Nigeria at more risk. As a parent and investor in the education sector, I wish to register 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 counterproductive.
“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 countries.
“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.
“We could mobilise all available public & 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 to 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”, Atiku stated a couple of weeks ago.