Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) may postpone the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations (SSCE) scheduled for August 4 to September 5, the Minister of State for Education, Mr. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, disclosed in Abuja wednesday.
The minister who made this disclosure while answering questions from State House reporters at the end of the eighth virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja, however, said schools would remain closed because the ministry believes that it is still not safe to reopen schools in view of the threat posed by COVID-19 pandemic.
According to him, WAEC is currently negotiating with West African countries on the possibilities of shifting the hitherto scheduled West Africa School Certificate Examinations (WASCE) from August.
The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, had last week announced the federal government’s decision to pull out of the scheduled WASCE, saying he could not afford to expose Nigerian children to COVID-19 infections.
Nwajiuba therefore explained that after the ongoing negotiations and consultations, if the ministry then deems it fit to shift grounds and reopen schools, it will be communicated to the general public, emphasising that till then, the status quo remains.
“We are still meeting with parents over the decision of the ministry. What the minister (Adamu) said reflects the true position of the ministry. We are not confident yet that everywhere is safe.
“The numbers from the NCDC are still alarming and we have put this before parents and all the stakeholders in the the education system. We are still meeting with them. In fact, there’s a stakeholders’ meeting convened for Monday.
“WAEC on its own part, is also negotiating with other West African countries to look at possible shift in date.
Once they are through with that meeting and hopefully when we are through with the consultations with stakeholders, if there’s any change in the ministry’s position, we will communicate, but as it stands, the position of the honourable minister, as communicated to you last week, remains the position of the ministry until further evidence to the contrary or further agreements that may alter those arise,” Nwajiuba said.
In his own briefing, the Minister of Environment, Muhammad Mahmood, said FEC approved what he described as a solid waste management policy, which he said was conceived to provide a framework for a comprehensive integrated solid waste management system for the country.
According to him, because waste matters are on concurrent list, the federal, state and local governments, ministries departments and agencies (MDAs), institutions, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) would be part of the arrangements which he said was designed to turn waste to wealth and create jobs through coordinated efforts.
He said: “Waste is no longer waste but resources. We consider it a resource you can recycle; ultimately, the garbage can be turned to other things. We have a recycling plant in Karu and the pallets produced can be used to make interlocks and many other things.
“That is why we need this comprehensive waste management plan which has been graciously approved. The next thing is the implementation. The implementation will require the inputs of everybody. Waste management as we all know is on concurrent list, meaning the federal, states can make laws and local governments can make by-laws. The federal government will provide all the framework necessary to undertake all this management.
“This was put together by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation and the Federal Ministry of Environment and other stakeholders. With this, a lot of jobs will be created from the recycling plant. We will also be inviting the private sector to come and inve