The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) on Tuesday said it will cost over N50 million to provide facemasks and hand sanitisers for its 23,250 workers who will supervise the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) which begins on August 3.
Head of its National Office, Mr Patrick Areghan, who addressed reporters in Lagos, sought support from the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, state governments and others.
He said: “There are many well-spirited individuals donating face masks and hand sanitisers. That is what we are asking for.
“Even if we are going to give only one washable/reusable face mask and one bottle of hand sanitiser to every worker and supervisor, that will not cost us less than N50 million.
“And if we make it two per worker and supervisor, that will not cost us less than N100 million. A committee has already worked on it; these are not just fictitious figures. We have even done negotiations with some companies.”
Areghan said the council would spend more to engage twice the number of supervisors it would have needed in normal times.
“We used to have one supervisor to 299 candidates. But now we are going to have one supervisor to about 150 candidates in order to maintain social or physical distancing. All these have cost implications.
“For example, we are going to engage 23,250 supervisors rather than 10,667. That is a lot of money,” he said. Areghan said WAEC would adhere strictly to social/physical distancing in the examination halls by making sure that candidates sit two metres apart.
He said 1,549,463 SS3 candidates have been registered to take the examination in 19,129 schools nationwide on Mondays to Saturdays from August 3 to September 5.
A Methodist Bishop and President of Vision Africa International, Dr. Sunday Onuoha, has cautioned federal and state governments to give maximum consideration to safety measures before reopening schools.
He said the schools reopening could endanger the health of innocent children and cause a rise in deaths.
Ohuoha, who spoke in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, noted that since Coronavirus is still spreading rapidly, there is need to jettison the reopening of schools for now as pupils and their families may be exposed to the contagious virus.