The Parents Forum of Queens College Lagos called on the Federal Government to consider a student -proximity- model, to avail students to participate in the 2020 WASSCE.
This is contained in a communique signed and issued by the Chairman of the college’s Parent Teacher Association (PTA), Mr Adewuyi Adedamola, after a brainstorming session among stakeholders of the school in Lagos.
Adedamola recalled that the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu had on July 8, announced that schools under the control of the Federal Government would not be participating at the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) by WAEC.
“According to Adamu, this is not the right time to re-open, as he will prefer Nigerian students to loose an academic year than to expose them to the dangers of the current Coronavirus pandemic.
“He gave no fixed time for resumption of schools.
“Meanwhile the announcement came a few days after the Minister of State for Education, Mr Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba had, during the weekly Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, live telecast news conference, announced that schools would resume on August 3 for the examination.
“Following the declaration, the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) then fixed the commencement of the examination for August 3 to September 5.
“According to the PTA chairman, the model though cumbersome, can be considered,” he said.
Adedamola said that they also aligned with the fact that children and adults are most vulnerable to the COVID-19.
“We appeal for modification in the minister’s statement and align with the bottlenecks around unity schools, that are predominantly boarding.
”We also proposed an increment in adult supervision in the dormitories with a reduced number of students per room since the dormitory will only cater for fewer students in SS3.
”Imperatively the boarding facilities will only cater for one-sixth (1/6) of its capacity, as some boarders have indicated their preference to convert to day status.
”This will further increase the boarding facilities available to students,”he said.
Adedamola noted that it had been identified that the examination hall was not the challenge for the boarding system, rather, the fear of what takes place in the hostels.
”If four West African member countries of the council have put plans in place to enable their students partake in the examinations, nothing stops Nigeria, the ‘Giant of Africa’ from following suit.
”The students are already in a state of emotional trauma and psychological imbalance due to this present situation. With this delay, this situation should not be allowed to further worsen, by depriving them of yet another year. They are demoralised and are fast losing hope.
”Therefore, while it is acceptable that the current status of boarding infrastructure nationwide may not be structured to fully monitor the students, with some not residing in the same locality as the unity school they attend, we propose that students utilise the nearest Unity Schools to their place of residence.
”These Unity Schools should act as their examination centres. parents, government and WAEC could bear the extra cost/logistics and rematching,” he stated.
Adedamola said that parents have indicated willingness to bear whatever cost it incurred for their children to participate in this year’s examination and would sign an undertaking if required.
According to him, it is a general belief that it is cheaper to bear this additional cost for safety, than allow their children loose a year, especially when their colleagues in private schools and other parts of West Africa are moving forward.
”Our country cannot afford to be a year behind.
”We propose that students of unity schools nationwide are allowed to sit for their examinations at the closest school to their place of residence, while the FME and WAEC can determine the means of dispatching answers booklet to their respective states and centers.
”We believe the government can partner logistics companies to actualise this proposed model.
”We have enough classes to cater for the WAEC candidates in unity schools to maintain all the COVID-19 precautionary measures,”he said.
Adedamola appealed to the Honourable Minister of Education to reconsider his directive on unity schools, not participating in this year’s WASSCE, bearing in mind the above model we recommended.
Read also: Bida Poly To Execute 3 Projects Under TETFund Intervention