By Hashim Y. Amao
“Our schools will only open when we believe it is safe for our children and that is when the situation is right, not when the incidence of the (Covid-19) infection is going up in the nation. I just want to make it clear. We will not open soon for examination or for any reason, even WASSCE unless it is safe for our children. WAEC will not determine for us what to do. Schools will remain closed.” said Adamu Adamu, the minister of Education, while affirming the Federal Government’s decision to cancel the 2020 WAEC, after last Wednesday’s Virtual meeting of the Federal Executive Council meeting.
The media was awashed with the noisome news. And in no less time, it had raised many dusts and reactions among well-meaning Nigerians. Could that be a fair decision by the Federal Government after all? Treat or twist it, it wouldn’t be a right one. Especially in a country which has always lag, academically behind its contemporaries. From low pass rate to academic instability and increase in population of out-of-school children; without mingling words, Federal Government’s decision will only add sour to the already existing injury in our Educational sector.
Being the only country to have announced cancellation of 2020 WAEC among other 4 West African countries that write the examination on annual basis is a more reason to give the decision a rethink. Otherwise, it will not only be a total waste of 1 year in the lives of 1.5 million candidates seeking to further their education in tertiary institutions, but also, it will breed many immoral acts; like criminality and increase in rape rate.
Should re-opening schools in the fullest sense be a setback in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic, Federal Government should consider students in terminal classes who are set to write crucial exams. After all, schools have been re-opened in Oyo state since July 6, and by adhering to the laid down protocols, they are doing just fine.
Taking off the head shouldn’t be a remedy to headache. Protocols should be made, guideline should be laid. Each school should be fumigated upon resumption, provision should be made for hand sanitizers, nose masks and there should be strict compliance to distancing in the exams halls. Then, we are good to go.
If Edo and Ondo elections scheduled to hold on 19th September and 10th October respectively could not be cancelled out of fear of pandemic, even with the huge population of voters that would be in the polling units, on no account should WAEC be cancelled. Else, our educational sector will continue to be a butt of a bad joke in the mouths of other nations.
Amao based in Ibadan, write via tweeter: @LegalBard
By Hashim Y. Amao