The federal government has said Nigerian students may be asked to sit for the General Certificate Examinations (GCE) holding in November if the country fails to meet up with this year’s timetable for the West African Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
The GCE is a private examination which is only offered in November and the results are available by December.
The Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, made this known at the bi-weekly Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 meeting on Thursday.
The minister explained the shift may become necessary since the WASSCE cannot be rescheduled for any reason.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the Nigerian government reversed its earlier announcement on the resumption of schools.
It also said no Nigerian school will participate in the WASSCE earlier scheduled from August 5 to September 5.
The decision was made to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among students who usually gather in large numbers during the yearly examination.
Also, Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, and Liberia have begun discussions on postponing the WASSCE.
However, Mr Nwajuiba said there was already a negotiated timeline to move local language subjects such as Ibo, Yoruba and Hausa as offered in Nigeria, behind from their usual spots as first written subjects.
This is to allow all participating countries the needed time to write the general subjects at the same time if Nigeria is able to meet up with the WAEC timetable.
“Nigeria is not moving away from it, the option would have been to go to November to take the GCE external exams. Nigeria is carefully studying that if in the event everything fails, we may go to that,” he said.
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“In the guideline, there is a checklist of the requirements to be put in place and we have given a cut off date so we can know who needs help,” he said.
According to him, “we need to know if the teachers cannot be provided with masks, if the school is unable to do that we need to know ahead because states that have given dates for resumption of schools are setting a timetable along the lines we have already explained and they are free to do this.
“Many states have come to say they are unable to meet up with that date that is why the minister requested WAEC give us and the schools some time to meet up,” he said.
He said the government will work out a ‘domestication module’ that will take “our peculiar subjects behind after we have done general (subjects). This will buy us the time we need for all of us to be at par with the rest of West Africa and operating at the same time because the unanimity with which WAEC has always worked is still very important to us.
“WAEC unfortunately, is unable to wholesomely move the exams but we have also worked out a negotiated timeline with WAEC on what we call peculiar Nigerian subjects. These are subjects that are only held in Nigeria such as Ibo, Hausa, Yoruba. The Ghanaians will take examinations peculiar to them,” he said.