Former President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has said that the Nigerian government’s policy of unilaterally canceling the West African Senior School Certificate Examination, held annually by the West African Examinations Council, is not in Nigeria’s best interest.
According to a statement he personally signed and sent to Saturday Vanguard, Atiku said:
“At a time of the global COVID19 pandemic, it is understandable that an abundance of caution be put in place to save lives.
However, caution, without consultation, and thoughtful action, may be counterproductive.
“1.5 million Nigerian youths write the West African Senior School Certificate Examination annually.
To abruptly cancel this examination is to set back our nation’s youth, and place them behind their contemporaries in other West African nations.
This is perilous, because Foreign Direct Investments and other economic indicators, are tied to the educational indexes of nations.
“Already, Nigeria lags behind other African nations in crucial indices, like school enrolment, pass rates, and out of school children.
This action, will further create chaos in the public education system and exacerbate an already bad situation.
“Rather than cancell-ation, there are better ways to protect the health of Nigerians and prevent the pandemic from escalating.
We could mobilise all available public and private infrastructures including primary schools, stadia, and cinemas, for the examinations.
In the alternative, the Federal Government can prevail on WAEC to have a staggered examinations with a different set of questions for each shift.
Doing so will allow WAEC Nigeria implement social distancing and achieve the goal of carrying out the examinations. A win-win scenario.”