Professor Julius Ihonvbere, the Chairman of House of Representatives Committee on Basic Education, has disagreed with the Federal Government on its stand that Nigerian students should not sit for this year Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) conducted by the West African Examination Council (WAEC).
Ihonvbere appearing on Sunrise Daily, a breakfast programme on Channels Television on Wednesday, said the lawmakers had summoned Mallam Adamu Adamu, the Minister of Education, and WAEC representatives to a meeting to discuss the possibility of reversing the decision.
He said the House would back down if the minister could convince members that it is not safe to reopen schools for final year students to sit for the exams.
“The House is inviting the minister and WAEC representative on Thursday for an interactive session to say where do we go from here? What are the options?
“Are we going to wait until the World Health Organisation (WHO) says we have a vaccine and it is available to everybody before the exit classes can write their exam?
“We believe that Nigeria is not the only country involved in this and we say we are the big brother of Africa, that our foreign policy is centred around Africa and we try to play a supportive role.
“We have no evidence so far that there was consultation with other countries in West Africa.
“We have no evidence that ministers or commissioners of education in West Africa met, and we have no evidence that even stakeholders in Nigeria were duly consulted before that decision was taken.
“We feel embarrassed that we are giving the impression to the world that since the COVID-19 outbreak we have been doing nothing to prepare, to respond and adjust to the new normal.
“What is required to write this exam is not that complicated. These are not babies, they are not kids. They are not kindergarten or primary school children.
“We wrote to the ministry about four weeks ago that if you are planning to reopen schools, these are certain protocols you must take, basically the same protocols that the NCDC had put out.”
Ihonvbere said the committee met with Nwajiuba who assured the lawmakers that the ministry was prepared to conduct the exam under a safe environment.
“He also announced this at the COVID-19 briefings and suddenly we got the news from the minister and we felt it was not well-thought-out, so the decision should be reversed,” he said.