The Federal government on Wednesday said its decision to pause schools’ resumption plans as well as the postponement of Nigeria’s participation in the West African Senior School Certificate Examinations conducted by WAEC stands.
Recall that Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, had at the last meeting of the Federal Executive Council FEC, told State House Correspondents that Nigerian schools would remain shut and secondary final year students would not write the West African Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) until the Ministry considered it safe for such to happen.
The Minister said his Ministry considered reopening schools and allowing academic activities, including writing examinations, to resume now as too risky, considering the rising spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic in the country.
But despite the mixed reactions that trailed that decision and the huge outcry from a section of the population, including the National Assembly, the Ministry has insisted that there will be no going back on its decision.
Briefing the State House Correspondents after the eighth virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja on Wednesday, Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, said the position of the Ministry remained the same as earlier spelled out by Adamu Adamu.
He however pointed out that the Ministry was still consulting with Education stakeholders on what the best position should be, adding that the West African Examination Council (WAEC) had also started consultations with West African states on a possibility of shifting dates.
“We are still meeting with parents over the decision of the Ministry. What the Minister said reflects the true position of the Ministry; we are not confident yet that everywhere is safe, the numbers from the NCDC are still alarming and we have put this before parents and all the stakeholders in the Education ecosystem, we are still meeting with them. In fact, there’s a stakeholders’ meeting convened for Monday.
“WAEC on its own part is also negotiating with other West African countries to look at possible shift in date. Once they are through with that meeting and hopefully when we are through with the consultation with stakeholders, if there’s any change in the Ministry’s position, we will communicate, but as it stands, the position of the Honourable Minister, as communicated to you last week, remains the position of the Ministry until further evidence to the contrary or further agreements that may alter those arise”, Nwajiuba said.
He said the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) is also consulting and looking at a possible change of date for final year exams for secondary school leavers.
According to Nwajiuba, “WAEC on its own part is also negotiating with other West African countries to look at possible shift in date and once they are through with that meeting and hopefully when we are also through with the consultations if there is any change in the ministry’s position, we will communicate.”
The Minister stressed that the remark made by Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu last week, is still the position of the ministry until further notice.
Meanwhile, the Minister said his the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved a memorandum presented by his Ministry for a contract worth N136 million, for the procurement of computers and seats for theatres in auditoriums at the University of Benin.
He said the contract would be funded by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND).
The Federal Executive Council, he said approved the sum of N136 million for the procurement of theatre seats and computers for the University of Benin in Edo State, following a memo presented by the ministry
“We submitted a memo on behalf of the University of Benin, for the procurement and installation of theatre seats and computers for work in the auditorium of the University of Benin.
“The project is being funded by the 2019 Tertiary Education funds allocated to the school in the sum of N136 million and the contract was approved by FEC as proposed by the University of Benin and they will now proceed with the procurement.”
Nwajiuba said the government’s position on the resumption of schools remains the same, as it is still meeting with stakeholders in the education sector, to chart the way forward.
“We are still meeting with parents over that, we are not confident yet that everywhere is safe, the number of COVID-19 infections from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) are still very alarming and we have presented this to parents and all stakeholders in the education ecosystem.
“We are still meeting with them; in fact, there is a stakeholder meeting slated for Monday next week,” he said.