WASSCE: FG considers Nov/Dec GCE option

The Federal Government on Thursday said pupils in Nigeria might be forced to sit for the General Certificate Examination in November, if the country failed to meet up with this year’s timetable for the West African Senior School Certificate Examination.

The government explained that that might become necessary since the West African Examination Council  could not shift its WASSCE scheduled to commence on August 4.

The Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, stated these while answering questions from journalists during the press conference of the Presidential Task Force on COVID – 19.

He, however, said that should Nigeria be able to meet up with WAEC timetable, there was already a negotiated timeline to move local language subjects such as Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa as offered in Nigeria, behind as first written subjects, to allow all participating countries the needed time to write the general subjects at the same time.

Nwajiuba said, “If you look at what the chairman of the PTF presented in June, he said he was not giving a date for schools resumption. He proposed that in view of WAEC’s timetable, it would be advisable for those, who could, to try and make arrangements to make use of the available facilities and that is what is stated in the guidelines.

“In the guidelines, 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. We need to know if the teachers at your own location cannot be provided with masks; if the school is unable to do that we need to know ahead because states that have given date 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 (of Education, Adamu Adamu) requested that WAEC give us and the schools some time to meet up.

“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 which in the language of WAEC are subjects that are only held in Nigeria such as Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba. The Ghanaians will take examinations peculiar to them

“But they are all in the first part of the time table, so we will work out a domestication module that will take our peculiar subjects behind after we have done generals.

“Nigeria is not moving away from it. The option would have been to go to November to take the GCE external exam; Nigeria is carefully studying that if in the event everything fails, we will may go to that.”

PTF raises the alarm over infected persons outside isolation centres

Meanwhile, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, raised the alarm over what he called the significant number of people who had tested positive to COVID-19 but were not in observation or treatment centres.

He said the development could be partly responsible for the exponentially increasing numbers of infected persons being experienced in the country.

Ehanire disclosed that the Ministry of Health through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control had a total of 59 molecular diagnostic laboratories for COVID-19 test activated.

Madagascar drink can’t cure COVID-19 but can reduce cough

The minister said the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development  had shared its final report on the evaluation of the COVID Organics from Madagascar.

He said, “The initial report had shown that its main ingredient is the same as Artemisia anua.

“While the preparation at high dose showed activity in reducing the frequency of cough, it did not show any evidence that it has real curative properties against COVID-19.”

On his part, the chairman of the task force, Boss Mustapha, attributed the recent postponement of its briefing to the need for reassessment after the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, who is a member tested positive.

Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, said the PTF might consider relying more on technology in order to minimise the risks associated with physical contacts.

On aviation, the SGF asked regulators to engage stakeholders on the resumption of international flights.

He said, “The Aviation sector has been working assiduously to develop the protocols for the resumption of international air services.”

The National Coordinator of the task force, Dr Sani Aliyu, said the PTF would next week issue a fresh advisory to guide Nigerians on how to mark this year’s Eid-El-Kabir slated to come up on July 31.
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