- Reverses earlier stand on resumption for final year students
By Egena Sunday Ode
The Federal Government on Wednesday foreclosed the resumption of educational institutions shut down in the country in the wake of the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic outbreak any time soon.
According to the government also, final year students preparing for the Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (SSCE) would not be allowed to return to schools as earlier announced by the Education Ministry.
Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu who addressed State House Correspondents after Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, disclosed that no school in the country would participate in the West African Senior School Certificate Examinations earlier scheduled for August 5th and September 5th.
The examination administered by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), was postponed indefinitely in April after it was earlier scheduled to commence in May.
Schools were also shut down across the country in the bid to contain the spread of the virus.
The Minister of State for Education, Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, had on Monday, July 6, 2020 announced that the West African Senior School Certificate Examinations would take place between August and September.
Reports from across the country have suggested that based on that announcement, most schools had notified their students of possible resumption from next week.
However, Adamu countered the statement credited to Nwajiuba while speaking to newsmen after the virtual meeting presided over by President Mohammadu Buhari, saying that the officials of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) cannot determine the resumption date for schools in Nigeria.
He said he would rather that Nigerian students lose an academic year than to expose them to the vagaries of the COVID 19 pandemic until it is safe to do so.
He said: “I don’t know whether you journalists are misquoting the Minister of State for Education or maybe quoting what WAEC said and made it into a story. Schools under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Education will not be opened on August 4 or anytime soon.
“Our schools will only open when we believe it’s safe for our children and that is when the situation is right, not when the incidence of the 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, unless it is safe for our children, even WAEC. WAEC will not determine for us what we do. Schools will remain closed.
“Yesterday (Tuesday) we called on stakeholders who will tell us the situation and the way it should be done for it to be safe. While the meeting was going on, WAEC announced that they are starting examinations. Let’s see who they are going to start with.
“I will also like to use this position to ask those states that have already announced (reopening), I appeal to them. I think it is not safe. I feel responsible for all children, not just those who are in federal government controlled schools. Please let’s save our children from this.
“One infected child is enough to infect a whole class. When they close from class they go into the dormitory, this is not the right time to open schools. I appeal to the states that have already announced to reconsider it.”
Asked if Nigeria would be the only country to miss out of the WAEC examinations, he said “me as Minister of Education, if I’m given the chance, I don’t mind Nigeria losing a whole school year than exposing our children to danger. WAEC is a parastatal of the Ministry of Education, they cannot determine for the government what it does.”
Also speaking to newsmen, Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said council approved an augmentation of an existing contract by N25 billion for the completion of the Enugu – Lokponta section of the Enugu – Port Harcourt highway.
He said the council also approved the award of three different roads. “The first is Dikwa-Marte-Mungunu road for N60,273 billion and the Numan road linking Borno and Adamawa for N15.527 billion and the third is for Gombi-Biu linking Adamawa and Borno also for N7.643 billion.