By Victor Oluwasegun, Abuja
The House of Representatives Committee on Basic Education and Services, the Ministry of Education and West African Examination Council (WAEC) Nigeria on Thursday brainstormed on possible dates for the examination.
The stakeholders however agreed if they were to make the September date for the examination a reality, there was need to get President Muhammadu Buhari and the Governors’ Forum involved for a timely and effective decision.
They agreed in the interest of the 1.6 million candidates registered for the exams, there was a need to agree on a date for the regional exercise as time was running out for the country.
One of the options was to find a date acceptable and immediate as the head of WAEC National office in Nigeria, Patrick Areghan, revealed that it takes quite a while to print question papers and other convoluted logistic considerations might come into play.
Areghan said that Ghana had wanted to have the examination in June because it is an election year but shelved it because of Nigeria.
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He also revealed that it took a presidential directive for Gambia to shelve its desire to have the examination.
So, according to him, Nigeria should decide on if it wants to give its candidates what he called a COVID-19 exam certificate or a WAEC Certificate in concert with the other countries.
According to him, getting parents to pay another set of fees might be difficult if the September date is missed, warning if the November option is considered, “someone has to pick the bills.”
The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education, Sonny Echono, said WAEC is one of the institutions that espouses regional cooperation and having a stand-alone examination will defeat its element of unity.
He further noted if there was adequate funding, it should not take more than a week to get the examination ready logistically for the 19,000 centres across the country.
Rep Nnolim Nnaji wondered why that should be a problem pointing out that the Ministry of Humanitarian Affair spent over N13bn as palliative for the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, reminded members and all present the decision they were to make was for an examination date and not resumption of schools.