OpenFees, an Abuja-based non-governmental organisation that caters for the basic education of indigent students has said if politicians can hold elections following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, it should also be possible for final year students to take their exams.
The group asked the Federal Government and other stakeholders to “stop the politics and take a stand” on the 2020 West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) for the sake of students whose future is at stake.
In a statement on Sunday, OpenFees said, “Science, technology and rigorous enforcement of hygiene and social distancing rules are already making it possible for schools elsewhere to reopen gradually and there is no reason why we can’t use that here.”
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In addition, the statement said, “We are particularly concerned that JSS 3 and SS 3 students in public schools most of who have not had significant learning, because of poor access to online resources would have to wait for another year before taking their final exams.
“If government can invest half the time and resources it wants to use to conduct elections, in spite of COVID-19, to provide safe environment for students, it should be possible for these final year students to take their exams without too much difficulty.”
The statement said even though the Ministry of Education issued a statement on Thursday that Nigeria would consult with the four other West African countries in WAEC and possibly hold the examination in September, “there remains a heavy cloud of uncertainty and doubt over the government’s commitment.”
“We note for example,” the statement continued, “that governors of the 19 northern states in Nigeria have yet to officially change their position that WAEC will not hold this year, while governors of the six South-west states have said they will go ahead and all of this is happening at a time when Federal Ministry of Education is supposed to have issued a COVID-19 compliance testing notice to schools.”
The statement said the overriding interest should be the safety and wellbeing of students and that while delay is inevitable, it is possible to learn from and use the experiences of countries where schools are already reopening.