The six Southwest states – Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Ondo, Osun and Ekiti – have agreed to reopen schools next month to enable Senior Secondary School 3 pupils to sit for the West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
The states’ commissioners for education and special advisers on education and State Universal Education Board (SUBEB) reached the agreement at a virtual meeting organised by the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission on Wednesday.
They agreed on the need for south-west states to implement a 2016 plan to establish a regional examination body similar to the Interim Joint Matriculation Board (IJMB) in the north.
A statement by the DAWN commission said the south-west states will reopen schools for SS3 pupils on August 3 with COVID-19 preventive measures put in place.
DAWN said the states will approach the federal government to seek a postponement of the WASSCE by at least three weeks from the proposed resumption date.
The states will later approach WAEC to seek a postponement of the examination to the week beginning August 24.
On resumption, they said schools are to appoint incident managers and classroom wardens while there will also be a designation of quality assurance department for each state to issue a safety compliance certificate to each of the schools before reopening.
They also added that each state will encourage intensive advocacy campaigns to stakeholders, including parents, teachers, caregivers, school owners and pupils on what is expected of them when schools reopen.
They also called on WAEC to encourage Computer-Based Tests (CBT) in the future.
But the Federal Government on Wednesday reiterated its advisory that schools should remain shut and not take part in the examination conducted by the West African Examination Council (WAEC).
Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, had announced a reversal of the Federal Government’s decision to allow students to sit for the examination.
He said schools would remain shut and final year secondary school students would no longer write WASSCE until further notice.
Minister of State for Education, Chief Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, restated the Federal Government’s position on Wednesday while briefing State House Correspondents after the eighth virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.
He said the ministry was still consulting with stakeholders on way forward, adding that WAEC had also started consultations with West African states on a possibility of shifting dates.
Nwajiuba said: “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 Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) are still alarming and we have put this before parents and all the stakeholders in the education ecosystem. A stakeholders’ meeting was convened for Monday.
“WAEC on its 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 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.”