BY Punch Correspondents
There were strong indications on Wednesday that some state governments were on a collision course with the Federal Government over their pupils’ participation in the 2020 West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination.
Investigations showed that six South-West states, Ebonyi and Cross River states had started preparing to recall their pupils in preparation for the examination.
The plan contradicts the decision of the Federal Government, which after the Federal Executive Council meeting on July 8, said it had suspended the plan to recall graduating pupils for WASSCE.
On Monday, there was confusion over the resumption as the Federal Ministry of Education issued guidelines for the reopening of schools, but failed to indicate the resumption date.
Amid the confusion at the federal level, some state governments on Wednesday began preparations for their pupils to sit for WASSCE.
The Development Agenda for Western Nigeria said the South-West states had signified their readiness to allow their pupils to sit for the 2020 WASSCE.
The Director General of DAWN, Seye Oyeleye, in a statement he issued on Wednesday, said the decision was part of the resolutions made by the state governments at the end of an online meeting initiated on Tuesday by the commission.
It stated, “The forum, after careful deliberations, considering peculiarities of each state and options available reached a consensus on the subject matters and expresses thus: On WASSCE; state commissioners for education have signified readiness to enrol pupils for the 2019/2020 examination.”
On his part, the Special Adviser to Governor Ben Ayade on Education, Castro Ezama, in an interview with one of our correspondents, said, “Very soon the pupils will resume. We are concluding arrangements for that to happen. We have not fixed a date yet.”
Also, the Ebonyi State Government said schools would be opened in the state between August and September.
The state Governor, David Umahi, stated this on Wednesday, during a virtual meeting of the executive council in Abakaliki, the state capital.
According to Umahi, reopening of schools in the state would be done in phases.
Umahi said, “The public should note that Ebonyi State will reopen her schools immediately, not in the month of July, we have to start the process that will lead us probably to reopen our schools between August and September.”
But the Federal Government on Wednesday insisted that it was not yet safe to reopen schools that were shut as part of efforts to curtail the spread of COVID-19.
The minister also hinted that WAEC was consulting other West African countries with a view to deciding whether to change the date of its examination.
He stated, “WAEC, on its own part, is also negotiating with other West African countries to look at possible shift in date and once they are through with that meeting and hopefully when we are also through with the consultations, if there is any change in the ministry’s position, we will communicate.”