By Harry Awurumibe, Editor, Abuja Bureau
The Federal Ministry of Education has said it is standing on its earlier decision to halt schools resumption plans even as it insists that Nigerian secondary school students will not participate in final examinations of the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
This much was disclosed Wednesday in Abuja by the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba.
It would be recalled that the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, had last week told State House Correspondents that Nigerian schools would remain shut and secondary final year students would not write the West African Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) until the Ministry considered it safe for such to happen.
The Minister said his Ministry considered reopening schools and allowing academic activities, including writing examinations, to resume now as too risky, considering the rising spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic in the country.
This decision had been received with mixed reactions, mostly a huge outcry from a section of the population, including the National Assembly, which had called on President Muhammadu Buhari to prevail on the Ministry to rescind its position.
However, speaking to State House Correspondents after the eighth virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja Wednesday, Minister of State for Education (Nwajiuba), said the position of the Ministry remained as earlier spelt out by Adamu Adamu last week.
He however pointed out that the Ministry was still consulting with stakeholders in the Education sector on what the best position should be, adding that the West African Examination Council (WAEC) had also started consultations with West African states on a possibility of shifting dates of its examinations.
“We are still meeting with parents over the decision of the Ministry. What the Minister said reflects the true position of the Ministry; we are not confident yet that everywhere is safe, the numbers from the NCDC are still alarming and we have put this before parents and all the stakeholders in the the Education ecosystem, we are still meeting with them. In fact, there’s a stakeholders’ meeting convened for Monday.
“WAEC on its own part is also negotiating with other West African countries to look at possible shift in date. Once they are through with that meeting and hopefully when we are through with the consultation with stakeholders, if there’s any change in the Ministry’s position, we will communicate, but as it stands, the position of the Honourable Minister, as communicated to you last week, remains the position of the Ministry until further evidence to the contrary or further agreements that may alter those arise”, Nwajiuba said.
Meanwhile, the Minister said the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved a memorandum presented by his Ministry for a contract worth N136 million, for the procurement of computers and seats for theatres in auditoriums at the University of Benin.
He said the contract would be funded by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND).