The Federal Government is to meet with the State Commissioners for Education, National Association of Private School Proprietors and other critical stakeholders, on 30th July 2020, to evaluate the level of preparedness and possibility of reopening schools.
Minister of State for Education, Hon Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, made this known during the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 news briefing in Abuja.
The meeting would discuss the level of compliance with the guidelines for reopening of schools earlier released by the Federal Ministry of Education.
He also disclosed that government was working assiduously towards ensuring that the final year students participate in the West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (WAEC) which was scheduled to hold from 4th August to 5th September 2020.
Nwajiuba said WAEC has insisted on going ahead with the examination in other four West African countries and that Nigeria would not be left, saying the option of November General Certificate in Examination (GCE) for Nigeria to join earlier being put on the table would not be ideal for the country.
He said the discussion was still on the possibility of shifting Nigerian languages, which are subjects scheduled to hold first before other general papers taken by candidates from all the five West African countries.
He said: “WAEC was unable to wholesomely move the exams but we have also worked out negotiated timeline with WAEC such that what we call peculiar Nigerian subjects which in the language of WAEC are subjects that are only held in Nigeria-Igbo Language, Hausa Language, and Yoruba Language.
“Ghanaians have their own but they are all in the first part of the timetable. We will now work out a domestication module that will take our peculiar subjects behind after we have done generals. This will buy us the time we need for all of us to be able to be at par with the rest of West Africa for the examinations to be written at the same time,” he said.
Nwajiuba noted further that the unanimity with which WAEC has always worked remains very important to the country, saying Nigeria would not move away from it.
He said the option was to go to November to take the GCE external exams, saying Nigeria is carefully studying that if in the event that everything “fails we may go to that but we are working assiduously to keep with the time-frame, saying the key factor of safety of the children was assured. ”
He said the Federal Government was not against any plans by state governments to reopen schools provided there is compliance with guidelines already made available to them
He said: “Education is a concurrent matter on our legislative list. States are free to make those kinds of provisions with the guidance that the Presidential Task Force has provided.”
The Minister added that the checklist provided in the guidelines are the requirement needed to put in place before the schools are reopened.
“We have given the cut-off date as 29th of July to expect all the responses so that we can know who needs help. If your problem is that you already get the bucket and a tap but you don’t know how to insert the tap to the bucket so that it turns into running water, we need to know because such a simple step may be important,” he said.