FG insists schools must remain closed

*Discussing with WAEC, parents on new dates for final year exams

By Felix Khanoba, with agency reports

The Federal Government has maintained that it does not have confidence yet to re-open schools to avoid escalating covid-19 infections.

It hinged it’s position on the increasing number of COVID-19 infections as released by National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

The Minister of State for Education, Chief Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, said on Wednesday, at the State House Abuja, after a virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari, that decision on the matter is however not final.

Nwajiuba said the Federal Ministry of Education decided to pause schools’ resumption and postpone participation in final examinations for secondary school students on health ground.

The minister said while still consulting, the West African Examination Council (WAEC) had also started consultations with other West African countries on the possibility of shifting the WAEC examinations.

He said: “We are still meeting with parents over the decision of the Ministry. What the Minister 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 Education ecosystem, 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 consultation with stakeholders, if there’s any change in the Ministry’s position, we will communicate, but as it stands, the position of the 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.

Last week, the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, said Nigerian schools would remain shut and secondary final year students would not write the West African Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) until the Ministry considered it safe for such to happen.

Meanwhile, the Minister said the council approved a memorandum presented by his Ministry for a contract worth N136 million for the procurement of computers and seats for theatres in auditoriums at the University of Benin.

Nwajiuba said the contract would be funded by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND).

The Minister of Environment, Muhammad Mahmood, while briefing, said the council approved Solid Waste Management Policy.

It is to provide a framework for a comprehensive integrated solid waste management in which the federal, state and local governments, MDAs, institutions, NGOs will all be part of it.

This was put together by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and the Federal Ministry of Environment and other stakeholders.

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