National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) has appealed to the Federal Government to reconsider its stand on the suspension of the 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSSCE).
Yomi Otubela, national president of the association who made the plea at a virtual news conference on Monday in Lagos, said a reconsideration of the WAEC organised WASSCE and the Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) by the National Examination Council (NECO), was necessary to ensure the emotional wellbeing of already traumatized students.
He said private schools under the umbrella of NAPPS were ready to resume with strict adherence to the safety protocols as rolled out by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). “To avoid emotional trauma, the SS3 students will be subjected to as a result of the cancellation of the WASSCE, we advise government to deploy the services of clinical psychologists.
This is to evaluate the state of minds of these students, whenever they are ready to sit for these examinations, due to mental trauma that will arise as a result of the suspension. We are talking about the rigorous preparations put in by the students and knowing full well, that their counterparts in other countries will write the ex examinations”.
According to him, there is need to avoid a situation where Nigerian students would be forced to seek an alternative way of writing these examinations, by approaching neighbouring countries such as Ghana. “It will not be good for the image of the country. As a result of a prolonged closure, majority of students may likely lose interest in education and embrace social vices inimical to their wellbeing and public safety as well”.
Otubela said that, after announcement of the suspension of the examinations, parents of students in private schools had started approaching management of schools to demand for refund of the fees paid for their children’s WASSCE. “Private schools had already remitted money to the examination bodies. Their reasons are premised on the decision to utilize the refunds to approach other neighbouring countries, so that their children can sit for 2020 WASSCE outside the country”.
He added that they were willing to have a meeting with the Minister of Education and other stakeholders, to assure them of the safety protocols that had been put in place in private schools, to ensure safety of students nationwide.
“Our call today is meant for all the transitional students, both in the private and public schools, to resume early enough, for revision before the examination dates. A task force can be instituted by both the Federal and State Governments to monitor and ensure strict compliance, during the conduct of the examinations. This is considering the level of success achieved so far with the reopening of the airports for domestic flights, through strict adherence to safety protocols for passengers. We are sure that the same level of success will be recorded, when schools are reopened”.
He added that the NAPPS had engaged the Federal Government, through the Economic Sustainability Committee, on the need to support private schools to cushion the effect of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the sub-sector.
“Our justification for requesting palliatives from the Federal Government was borne out of the fact of the abrupt closure of schools by the government to protect students in the country from the outbreak of the disease. For this reason, the recent announcement of the approval of N2.3 trillion stimulus package to support businesses by the Federal Government, with the inclusion of private schools, is a welcome development.
“NAPPS, therefore, appreciates the Federal Government for the swift response. We are hopeful that government will soon release guidelines for private schools to benefit from this support. NAPPS is equally appreciative of the single loan digit approved by the Federal Government, through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s N5O billion COVID-19 intervention funds”.
Otubela assured that his members would ensure strict adherence to the safety protocols recommended by NCDC to prevent spread of the disease, within the school environment. “Some of the safety protocols recommended include: provision of running water, soap for hand washing; provision of Infra-red thermometers to monitor staff, students and visitors’ temperature. Enforcement of face mask, provision of sick bay to be managed by qualified health personnel and others”.