The House of Representatives has called on the Federal Government to reverse the decision of the Federal Ministry of Education withdrawing Nigerian students from the 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examination and other similar examinations.
The lawmakers made the call on Tuesday while adopting a motion brought under matters of urgent national importance by Nnolim Nnaji during plenary.
The federal government recently reversed its earlier announcement on the resumption of schools, saying no Nigerian school will participate in the regional examinations earlier scheduled for August 5 to September 5.
This year’s examination administered by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) was postponed indefinitely in April after it was earlier scheduled to commence in May.
The postponement was due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has ravaged the globe for months. Nigeria has so far recorded over 33,000 infections and over 600 deaths.
‘Sudden policy reversal’
Moving the motion which was unanimously adopted without debate, Mr Nnaji stated that exempting Nigerian students from the exams could bring psychological, socio-economic and health effects on them.
He expressed worries that the negative and culminating effects of the government‘s action in seeking to withdraw Nigerian students from the examinations will be devastating on Nigeria’s educational system and the economy at large.
“Also worried that this sudden policy reversal is and will be detrimental and create further confusion and uncertainty in the educational sector as well as frustrate the student’s lifelong ambitions and send wrong signals to stakeholders and investors.”
He said the government could also apply the same safety measures in schools just as it did while reopening markets, places of worship and other sectors.
He said he was “convinced that the government could apply the same safety measures towards school’s resumption to enable Nigeria participate in the examinations.”
He said he was encouraged with the successes recorded from the gradual reopening of the economy, adding that its application in the educational sector in screening, decontamination, additional centres and supervisors, as well as strict compliance with NCDC guidelines on social distancing, hand washing, use of facemasks and sanitizers will contain the spread of the virus
“The adoption of comprehensive and adequate NCDC preventive guidelines in the school and exam centres coupled with pre-attendance testing of the students at least two weeks to the exams in adherence to the WHO and NCDC guidelines will no doubt guarantee that the pandemic will be of no effect m the method and process ot the examinations.”
While adopting the motion, the house also urged the Minister of Education to immediately implement the health safety measures outlined by the Federal Executive Council for the conduct of the examinations as well as provide soap, hand sanitizers and all other requirements stipulated by NCDC.
It also mandated the House Committees on Basic Education, Healthcare Services, Water Resources and Legislative Compliance to ensure compliance and report back to the house within two weeks.
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