The Federal Government on Wednesday reversed its earlier decision on schools resumption, saying that schools would no longer reopen revision classes for final year students who are preparing for examinations.
The government also announced that no school would participate in the West African Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) earlier scheduled for August 5 to September 5.
The examinations were postponed indefinitely due to the spread of the coronavirus disease.
Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, minister of state for education, had on Monday announced that the West African Senior School Certificate Examinations would take place between August and September.
But speaking to State House Correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, Minister of Education Adamu Adamu said Nigerian schools would not reopen any time soon until it is safe to do so because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said final year students preparing for the Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (SSCE) would not be allowed to return to school contrary to earlier announcement.
Adamu stated that the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) cannot determine the resumption date of schools for Nigeria.
He said he would rather have Nigerian students lose an academic year than expose them to danger.
“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 incidence of the infection is going up in the nation. I just want to make it clear,” Adamu said.
We will not open soon for examination or for any reason, unless it is safe for our children, even WAEC. WAEC will not determine for us what we do.
“Yesterday we called on stakeholders who will tell us the situation in schools 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,” he said.
The minister appealed to states that have already announced reopening to have a rethink and rescind their decision.
“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,” Adamu said.
“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,” he said.
Asked if Nigeria would be the only country to miss out of the WAEC examinations, he said as minister of education, given the chance, “I don’t mind Nigeria losing a whole school year than exposing our children to danger”.
“WAEC is a parastatal of the Ministry of Education, they cannot determine for the government what it does,” he said.
Adamu said FEC approved an agreement between the Kaduna Polytechnic (KADPOLY) and an investor to renovate 18 blocks of student hostels at the cost of N744,264 million.
The concessionary contract is for a 15 year period 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,” the minister said.
“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,” he said.
Babatunde Fashola, minister of works and housing, said the ministry got FEC approvals for the completion of the Enugu-Lokpanta section of the Enugu-Port Harcourt highway.
He disclosed that it involves augmentation of an existing contract by N25 billion.
“The second memoranda was 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,” Fashola said.