Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has disclosed that the cancellation of the 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examination would put Nigeria at more risk.
Atiku, who said this in a post on his Facebook page said he, as a parent and investor in the education sector, wish to register the fact that the Nigerian government’s policy of unilaterally cancelling the WASSCE, held annually by the West African Examinations Council, is not in Nigeria’s best interest.
The Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 general election said at a time of the global COVID19 pandemic, it is understandable that an abundance of caution be put in place to save lives, adding that “caution, without consultation, and thoughtful action, may be counter productive.”
He explained that 1.5 million Nigerian youths write the West African Senior School Certificate Examination annually, saying “to abruptly cancel this examination is to set back our nation’s youth, and place them behind their contemporaries in other West African nations.”
Alhaji Abubakar described this as perilous, explaining that Foreign Direct Investments and other economic indicators, are tied to the educational indexes of nations.
He added that already, Nigeria lags behind other African nations in crucial indices, like school enrolment, pass rates, and out of school children.
This action, he said, will further create chaos in the public education system and exacerbate an already bad situation.
Rather than cancellation, Alhaji Abubakar said there are better ways to protect the health of Nigerians and prevent the pandemic from escalating.
“We could mobilise all available public and private infrastructures including primary schools, stadia, and cinemas, for the examinations. In the alternative, the Federal Government can prevail on WAEC to have a staggered examinations with a different set of questions for each shift. Doing so will allow WAEC Nigeria implement social distancing and achieve the goal of carrying out the examinations. A win-win scenario.”
He then urged the President Muhammadu Buhari’s 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.
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