The House of Representatives committee on basic education and services, Ministry of Education and the West African Examination Council, Nigeria Headquarters yesterday resolved to seek audience with President Muhammadu Buhari and the Nigeria Governors Forum.
They also agreed that in the interest of the 1.6 million candidates registered for the West African School Certificate Examinations, there was the need to agree on a date for the regional examination as time was running out for the country.
In order to find a date acceptable and immediate as the head of WAEC National office in Nigeria, Patrick Areghan revealed that it would take quite a while to print question papers and other convoluted logistic considerations might come into play.
Areghan said that Ghana had wanted to have the examination in June, because it’s an election year in the country, but shelved it because of Nigeria. He also revealed that it took a presidential directive for The Gambia to shelve its desire to have the examination before now.
This, he said it was time for Nigeria to decide on if it wanted to give its candidates what he called a COVID-19 examination certificate or a WAEC Certificate in concert with the other countries. According to him, getting parents to pay another set of fees might be difficult if the September date is missed, warning that if the November option is considered, “someone has to pick the bills.” Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Arc Sonny Echono in his presentation said that WAEC was one of institutions that espoused regional cooperation and having a stand-alone examination would defeat the element of unity it portrayed. He further noted that if there was adequate funding, it should not take more than a week to get the examination ready logistically for the 19, 000 examination centres across the country.
Commenting, Hon. Nnolim Nnaji wondered why that should be a problem pointing out that the Ministry of Humanitarian Affair had spent over 1N3billion as palliative for COVID-19 pandemic. The Minister of State for Education, Hon. Emeka Nwajiuba reminded members and all present that the decision they were to make was for an examination date and not resumption of schools in the country.