The Federal Government of Nigeria says it cannot decide for state and private schools on whether or not to participate in the 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examinations.
The Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, clarified this in Abuja on Monday during the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, had, last Wednesday, said schools would remain closed until it was certified that the situation was safe, emphasising that this was not the right time to open schools.
He had also said the government would not mind forfeiting the WASSCE earlier scheduled to begin on August 4 to save the lives of students.
But Nwajuiba said on Monday that there was no policy somersault on the government's decision to stop students in the 104 unity schools nationwide from writing this year's WASSCE.
"The PTF never said here that they were reopening any school.
"They only provided that assurance and that guidance.
"After FEC on Wednesday, Malam Adamu Adamu, advised the public that based on information that the PTF and NCDC has proffered, that the unity colleges, because those are only 104 out of 19,129 schools that he will not agree and in fact, it is not advisable.
"He (Adamu) went further to advise that we do not open those institutions for the use of exams.
"And that perhaps he advised since it was WAEC that proposed those dates, we'll be engaging WAEC to reconsider the dates.
"However, he (Adamu) said he is not in charge of private schools and schools that fall under the concurrent list and therefore, devolve to sub-nationals who can take a decision as to what will happen to their state-owned schools and whether they can participate or not."
Asked if he meant only unity schools were exempted from writing the WASSCE, Nwajuiba said: "For clarity, Malam (Adamu) said, the 104 schools are not available.
"He does not have control over the governors; it'll be unconstitutional to say he can tell the governors what to do.
"You've heard from the PTF chairman consistently that we try to marry what we do with the governors' forum.
"What we do at the PTF is to have a national response.
"So, the governors may look at the data which we also have.
"It appears to me that they understand the same things we're doing, but we do not want to impose anything on them."