Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Federal Government has reversed its earlier announcement on school resumption.
It has also said no school will participate in the West African Senior School Certificate Examinations earlier scheduled for August 5 to September 5.
This year’s examination, administered by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) was postponed indefinitely in April after it was earlier scheduled to commence in May after schools were shut down in a bid to contain the spread of COVID-19.
However, Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, announced during a media briefing on Monday, July 6 that the exam will take place between August 4 and September 5.
Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, speaking to State House Correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, yesterday, said Nigerian schools will not reopen any time soon until it is safe to do so because of the pandemic.
Adamu has, therefore, said that final year students preparing for the Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (SSCE) will not be allowed to return to school contrary to earlier announcement. He said WAEC cannot determine the resumption date of schools for Nigeria.
He said he would prefer that Nigerian students lose an academic year than to expose them to dangers.
“I don’t know whether you journalists are misquoting the minister of state for education or maybe quoting what WAEC said and made it into a story. Schools under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Education will not be opened on August 4 or anytime soon. Our schools will only open when we believe it’s safe for our children and that is when the situation is right, not when the incidents of the infection is going up in the nation. I just want to make it clear.
“We will not open soon for examination or for any reason, unless it is safe for our children. WAEC will not determine for us what we do. Schools will remain closed.
“Yesterday, (Tuesday) we called on stakeholders who will tell us the situation and the way it should be done for it to be safe. While the meeting was going on, WAEC announced that they are starting examinations. Let’s see who they are going to start with.
“I will also like to use this position to ask those states that have already announced (reopening); I appeal to them. I think it is not safe. I feel responsible for all children, not just those who are in Federal Government-controlled schools. Please let’s save our children from this.
“One infected child is enough to infect a whole class. When they close from class they go into the dormitory; this is not the right time to open schools. I appeal to the states that have already announced to reconsider it.”
“When asked if Nigeria will be the only country to miss out of the WAEC examinations, he replied: “As Minister of Education, if I’m given the chance, I don’t mind Nigeria losing a whole school year instead of exposing our children to danger. WAEC is a parastatal of the Ministry of Education, they cannot determine for the government what it does.”
Adamu also said the seventh virtual FEC approved an agreement between the Kaduna Polytechnic (KADPOLY) and an investor to renovate 18 blocks of student hostels.
The contract which is a 15-year concession at the cost of N744,264 million is under a Renovate, Operate, Maintain and Transfer (ROMT) arrangement.
“It will take one year to construct the hostels, after which the contractor will run it for 15 years within which they will recover what they have sunk into the project.
“There are 18 blocks of hostels and each room in a block will house four students. The total number of students to be housed will be 4,032.”
Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said council approved an augmentation of existing contract by N25 billion for the completion of the Enugu – Lokponta section of the Enugu – Port Harcourt highway.
He said council also approved the award of three different roads.
“The first is Dikwa-Marte-Mungunu road for N60,273 billion and the Numan road linking Borno and Adamawa for N15.527 billion and the third is for Gombi-Biu linking Adamawa and Borno also for N7.643 billion.