THE Founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, (ABUAD), Chief Afe Babalola has said that disallowing students from writing the 2020 West African Schools Certificate Examination (WASCE) would cause irreparable damage.
Babalola, a legal icon stated in a statement in Ado Ekiti on Wednesday that Nigeria cannot pull out of the annual examination for final year secondary school students in Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Gambia.
He pointed out that if the Federal Government insisted that there would be no WASSCE this year, the students would not only have lost one calendar year, but an integral part of their entire lives would have gone forever.
According to him, about 1.5 million Nigerian students, who had registered for admission into various tertiary institutions in the country were earnestly waiting for WASCE results for admission into universities.
He stated: “Even though the Minister of Education insisted that it was not safe to re-open the various institutions in the face of the increasing wave of COVID-19 pandemic, he did not indicate when it will be safe for Nigerian students who have been staying at home since March 23 to participate in the annual examination.
“When will COVID-19 disappear? It will be with us for a long time to come. Like Small Pox, Malaria, Influenza, flu, Leprosy and Cholera, it may not be completely exterminated from planet earth.
“That means that Nigerians have to manage COVID-19 pandemic the same way as the world has been managing previous pandemics.”
He wonder why the principle of social standing, which has been applied to churches, mosques and weddings not extended to the conduct of WASCE?
Babalola advised the Federal Government to use the opportunity of the closure of schools and tertiary to host WASCE rather than put in jeopardy the future of the 1.5 million students, who have registered for the examination.
He added: “Government should prepare the empty rooms for WAEC examination – fumigate the halls and the premises, use face masks, provide sanitisers and ensure that World Health Organization (WHO) rules are obeyed,” he said.
He wondered why Nigeria’s withdrawal was not taken up by the National Committee of WAEC in Nigeria and the general body in Ghana and asked, “why the other four countries under the WAEC umbrella have not cancelled the WASCE in their respective countries.”
Babalola questioned why Nigeria was the only country pulling out of the annual examination, of “are the other four countries not affected by COVID-19? What steps have the other countries taken, which would enable them to take WAEC examination, which we cannot take? Are we saying that other four countries do not appreciate the lives of their students?
“Did the Minister take into consideration the moral and legal implication of Nigeria as a signatory to WAEC laws or the effect of such unilateral declaration of withdrawal.”
Babalola said what was required to take the WAEC examination was proper management, consultation and discussion instead of unilateral cancellation of annual international convention.