Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar says Nigerians may cross to neighbouring countries to sit for the 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE).
In a statement on Friday, Atiku kicked against the federal government’s decision to withdraw from the 2020 WASSCE due to COVID-19.
On Wednesday, Adamu Adamu, minister of education, had told state house correspondents that the safety of students is more important than the examination.
He also appealed to the West African Examination Council (WAEC) to reconsider postponing the examination scheduled for August 5 and September 5.
But Atiku said rather than pull out from the exercise, Nigeria should have reached an agreement with WAEC to stagger examinations with a different set of questions prepared for each shift.
“At a time of the global COVID-19 pandemic, it is understandable that an abundance of caution is put in place to save lives. However, caution, without consultation, and thoughtful action, may be counterproductive. 1.5 million Nigerian youths write WAEC annually,” he said.
“To abruptly cancel this exam is to set back our nation’s youth, and place them behind their contemporaries in other West African countries. This is perilous because Foreign Direct Investments and other economic indicators are tied to the educational indexes of nations.
“Already, Nigeria lags behind in crucial indices, like school enrolment, pass rates, and out of school children. This action will further create chaos in the public education system and exacerbate an already bad situation.
“In the alternative, FG can prevail on WAEC to have staggered examinations with a different set of questions for each shift. This will allow WAEC Nigeria to implement social distancing and carry out the examinations.
“I urge this administration to take into account that the lives they are trying to save will be further put at risk. If this policy is not reversed, tens of thousands, and possibly hundreds of thousands of Nigerians, will breach social distancing rules to cross over to neighbouring West African nations to write their WASSCE, rather than miss a year.”