The Federal Ministry of Education said on Friday that it had met with officials of the West African Examinations Council to decide on a new date for the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination for 2020 which had been a subject of controversy among parents, state and federal governments due to the COVID-19 pandemic, oyogist.com reports.
The Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, stated this according to a release from the ministry by the Director of Information, Mr Ben Goong.
The minister added that the Federal Government had resolved to consult with the four other WAEC countries – Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia and the Gambia – on a new date for the suspended West African Senior School Certificate Examinations meant to be taken by students in Senior Secondary School Class 3.
This is just as the ministry rolled out guidelines for the reopening of schools, saying they must undertake “self-assessment and send feedback to state ministries of education, not later than July 29, 2020.”
The minister said the guidelines were drafted in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, the Education in Emergencies Working Group, and other stakeholders.
He said after July 29, consultations with relevant stakeholders would be held again to review the situation and decide on a specific date for reopening or otherwise.
Among the guidelines released by the education ministry on Friday are availability of an ambulance and access to a testing or isolation or treatment centre, including the NCDC helpline and state government facilities.
Nwajiuba said, “Having taken the painful but necessary decision not to reopen schools without necessary preparations to ensure the safety of students and teachers, the Federal Ministry of Education has continued consultations with stakeholders, and a mechanism to assess and monitor compliance shall be put in place.
“Since Tuesday last week, we have consulted widely with stakeholders in the sector, including Commissioners of Education in all the states of the federation, the Association of Private School Owners of Nigeria, National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools; Provosts of Colleges of Education, Rectors of Polytechnics, Vice-Chancellors of Universities, some state governors and development partners.
“We met with WAEC on Monday and have agreed to further consult with four other countries on a new examination date. We appreciate the concern shown by all stakeholders and note the divergent views expressed on the matter. Parents should rest assured that the safety of our students and teachers is paramount as we work assiduously towards the speedy reopening of our schools for the exit classes to take external examinations.”
In the guidelines released, the ministry said, “Adjusting to the new school process requires much planning. A phased and gradual reopening of schools is advocated to minimise the risk of infections in schools and the resurgence of COVID-19 infections in the community.
“This involves measures including training of teachers and other personnel on safety and hygiene measures, establishing a COVID-19 referral system, ensure availability of an ambulance and access to a testing/isolation/treatment centre, including NCDC helpline and state government facilities.”
“Ensure adequate water, sanitation and hygiene facilities across the school premises; decongesting classrooms, hostels, worship centres and other spaces; encouraging use of open spaces for gathering and promoting outdoor activities.”