The House of Representatives Committee on Basic Education and Services has resolved to approach President Muhammadu Buhari and the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) on the need to fix a date for the 2020 West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSSCE).
The Chairman of the Committee, Rep. Julius Ihonvbere (APC-Edo), expressed the resolution at the committee meeting with stakeholders in the education sector on Thursday in Abuja.
He said that there was a need for stakeholders to be on the same page and to commence diplomatic efforts to get the other countries in the region on Nigeria’s side concerning the yet-to-be agreed examination date.
He said that in the interest of the 1.6 million candidates that registered for the exams, there was a need to agree on a date for the regional examination as time was running out for the country.
The Head of WAEC National Office in Nigeria, Mr Patrick Areghan, told the committee that it required time to print question papers and that 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.
“Nigeria should decide on if it wants to give its candidates a COVID-19 exam certificate or a WAEC certificate in concert with the other countries.
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“Getting parents to pay another set of fees might be difficult if the September date is missed; if the November option is considered, someone has to pick the bills,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Mr Sonny Echono, said that WAEC is one of the institutions that espouse regional cooperation.
Echono explained that having a stand-alone examination would defeat the element of unity it portrays.
According to him, if there is 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.
The lawmakers deliberated on the need to use Nigeria’s power as a provider of about 60 per cent of the finances for the exams to dictate a date.
However, stakeholders present eventually agreed that it would be better to be democratic in arriving at a decision.