Candidates sitting for the 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) in Ebonyi were jubilant as the Federal Government (FG) has given the nod for partial schools reopening .
A cross-section of SS 3 students and WASSCE candidates who spoke to SummitNews on Tuesday in Abakaliki said that they received the announcement with great joy and excitement.
The candidates who commended the FG for reversing its earlier decision on reopening of schools said that the latest announcement has rekindled their hope of writing the rescheduled 2020 Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) .
Recall that schools in Nigeria were earlier billed to partially resume on July 4, while the West African Examination Council (WAEC) May/June WASSCE which was put on hold due to the pandemic was rescheduled to commence on Aug 4 and end September 5.
However, the FG through the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu said that it was not safe for schools to reopen in Nigeria in view of the spike in COVID-19 infections.
However, FG after a meeting with key stakeholders in the education sector and examination bodies on Monday, July 27 in Abuja announced reopening of secondary schools to enable students who registered for the WASSCE to write the exam.
The students who were visibly happy with the the latest development in the education sector said that news of partial reopening of schools has laid to rest fears and apprehensions of WASSCE not holding in 2020.
Ms Rebecca Elom, an SS 3 student in Government Technical College (GTC), Abakaliki said that she received the announcement with excitement and joy and commended the FG for reversing its earlier decision.
Elom who expressed gladness at the announcement said that news has rekindled the zeal to read again.
She said could no longer read with concentration before now since it was not certain when the exam was going to hold.
“I am happy to hear that we are going to write our WASSCE this year and I want to thank the FG for bowing to the popular opinion of majority of Nigerians.
“I have been reading for the exam and I also believe that other fellow candidates sitting for SSCE are also ready because we have been looking forward to this announcement and we have been preparing hard for it.
“I wish to appeal to state government and management of the various schools to ensure that necessary measures are put in place to guarantee safety and wellbeing of returning students and teachers, ” Elom said.
Mr McGerald Okoro, WASSCE candidate and student of Holy Ghost Foundation Schools who commended FG for its decision to reopen schools to allow graduating SS 3 students write their final exam said that they would abide by all approved COVID-19 protocols.
He appealed to state government to fumigate all private and public schools in the state and ensure that running water, sanitizers and facemasks were provided in all schools hosting the WAEC exam.
He said: “We are good to go with our exam. We have been reading and have been preparing for the examination.
Chief Dave Umahi
” Though the time given for students to return and get ready for the exam is short, yet we are not bothered because we have not been sleeping, we have been reading and most of us are now experiencing diminishing returns.”
Mr Luis Orji, a student of Great Minds Academy in Abakaliki and also a WASSCE candidate said that FG’s new decision to allow the exam to hold was the best ‘gift’ to all SS 3 students nationwide.
“Contrary to fears that there might be wide failure in this year’s WASSCE, we are are going to prove to parents, guardians and other stakeholders that we have not been resting, that we have prepared and are ready for the exam.
“WAEC has said that its not going to reduce the standard of the exam; we are going to use the few days before the exam to dot the i’s and cross the t’s as we put final touches to our preparation,” he said.
He appealed to management of the various schools to put in place COVID-19 protection and safety strategies for effective resumption.
Meanwhile, the South-East Governors Forum (GF) has decided compulsory testing for all teachers in the zone as part of preparatory measures towards reopening of schools in the South-East.
Chief Dave Umahi, the forum’s chairman and Ebonyi governor made the disclosure in Abakaliki on Sunday, while briefing newsmen after a virtual meeting of the forum.