Covid-19: The Wails Of A WAEC Candidate, By Maimuna M. Labbo

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The Coronavirus pandemic is a disaster that wrecked millions of people. It is an unfortunate death sentence to elderly people whose body immunity is too weak to resist, fight and win over the deadly virus. Cases continue to grow daily and governments are trying to contain the virus and “flat the curve” by implementing different measures to help curb the pandemic.

As we continue to swim in the murky water of the pandemic, it is sad to realise many people, both literate and the illiterate ones, don’t believe the virus exists! Some believe, but try to bring naive theological justifications to prove God is on their side even if they don’t follow medical advices. They misunderstand how God works. People have to defend themselves before seeking protection from God.

Everyday, we are realising we cant overcome the coronavirus, so we are  learning to live with it. There is no longer interstate lockdowns. Market places are now open and some offices have resumed back to work. Even weddings and other social gatherings take place, albeit with some restriction measures. This happens before the eyes of government that thinks loosing a whole academic year by not going back to basic and secondary schools is not big deal!

It was initially announced that WAEC examinations are to begin on August 4, 2020, and to end September 5, 2020. Secondary schools students like me started to prepare for the exam after long hibernation due to lockdown, only to be shocked a day after with another breaking news. The Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, was reported to have said it “is not the right time to reopen schools”. And the schools would not open for any reason, even WAEC!

I personally became so shocked that few sentences by the Honourable Minister mean losing a whole academic year to me. It also means our UTME would possibly expire. And if we, God forbid, fail our exams next year, it literally means two years will go down the drain. All these concerns keep toiling in our brains.

Government said it is planning for teachers to engage students through online classes. But nobody thinks about hundreds of thousands of students who couldn’t access internet. Try to imagine what online classes would possibly be mean to a student in rural area who has never accessed internet! Try to imagine the cost of data bundles to poor parents who couldn’t have three square meal, especially in this trying time.

We hope government will reconsider its decision and open school. Scientists say young children are not likely to be seriously ill with the virus. And parents, I believe, are well aware that a child needs proper care to avoid contracting the virus; they will do their bests to protect us.

The schools will also ensure social distancing measures practiced. It will also ban playing in the school premises and reduce the number of students per class. And for WAEC candidates, we can sit for our exams while being very conscious of the virus.

  • Maimuna Muhammad Labbo is a WAEC candidate who attends Yandutse College in Kano
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