Former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar has reacted to the suspension of the 2020 West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) by the Federal Government.
Atiku’s reaction comes two days after the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu announced that no Unity Schools will participate in the scheduled WAEC exams.
Speaking after the Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday, the Minister asked the examination body and the state governments to reconsider their decision to open for exams.
In a statement he personally signed on Friday, Atiku said the cancellation will put the country at more risks.
He pointed out that 1.5 million Nigerian youths write the West African Senior School Certificate Examination annually, adding that the abrupt cancellation of “this examination is to set back our nation’s youth, and place them behind their contemporaries in other West African nations.”
“I urge this administration to take into account that the lives they are trying to save will be further put at risk, because if this policy is not reversed, tens of thousands, and possibly hundreds of thousands of Nigerians, will breach social distancing rules to cross over to neighbouring West African nations to write their WASSCE, rather than miss a year,” the statement partly read.
The former presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 general elections noted that the move by the Nigerian government to curb the COVID-19 pandemic is not in the nation’s best interest.
This, he noted, is because the Federal Government unilaterally took the decision “without consultation, and thoughtful action,” arguing that it “may be counterproductive.”
“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,” he said.
On the way forward, Atiku wants the Federal and state governments to mobilise all available public and private infrastructures including primary schools, stadia, and cinemas, for the examinations.
In doing this, he also called on the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to “prevail on WAEC to have a staggering examination with a different set of questions for each shift.”
In doing this, the PDP chieftain believes that the government’s directives on social distancing will be achieved while candidates sit for their examination, thus describing the move as “a win-win scenario.”