I agree with the minister of education that secondary and primary schools in Nigeria remain closed until we have a way out of this covid-19 pandemic.
I also agree with him that the West African School Certificate Examinations should be suspended until further notice because the way these examinations are currently structured would require kids to return to dormitories and stay in crowds.
Kids cannot maintain social distancing. They cannot manage face masks well. They sure won’t remember to wash hands. They won’t remember not to touch their faces. Once one kid gets infected, every kid in class will get it. At this time, kids are safer at home under the care of parents than at school under the care of overworked teachers and dormitory masters.
If WAEC wants our kids to write these exams, they should figure out safe ways to administer them. Must our kids take these exams on campus? We have only 1.5 million kids for these exams. WAEC should come up with innovative ways to prepare these kids at home and have them write the exams at home.
Nigerians must also understand that our kids do not need these exams to get into the university. Universities can use their transcripts to evaluate them for admission into the university. After all what is important is that they have covered course work for admission into the university.
May be this is a good time to review the relevance of the West African School Certificate Examinations toward the education of our kids. So also the relevance of Joint Admission and Matriculation Examinations. Do our kids really need these examinations to go to college?
Many nations are moving away from WAEC and JAMB kinds of testing. Tests are good but they should be used to help students understand course materials and not to stop them from moving to the next class.
If a student fails a test, student should try again and again until s/he passes it. There are testing softwares that make it impossible to proceed to the next question without getting the answers correct. We should be using those softwares to test our kids. As they try to get the correct answers, they learn the course material.
That’s what is important in learning.