Muslim students at crossroads over WAEC Exams
The timetable of the forthcoming November/December General Certificate Examination (GCE) of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) which is expected to begin next week may have thrown some Muslim students into confusion as the exams eventually clash with the period of Jumat prayers.
Indeed, the timetable showed that some subjects would be taken between 1 pm and 3 pm on Fridays.
In view of this the concerned Muslims under the aegis of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has called for urgent review of the timetable to allow the Muslim candidates observe their obligatory prayers.
MURIC, in a statement signed by its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, said: “The implication of this is that Muslim candidates are likely to miss some of their papers unless they choose to skip the Jum’ah services on those days. This is tantamount to denial of Allah-given fundamental rights of those candidates. It is a flagrant breach of Section 38 (i) & (ii) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“We therefore invite the Nigerian authorities to visit WAEC’s website (registration.waecdirect.org) and click on the timetable link to confirm our allegation. WAEC has fixed its examinations between 1 pm and 3 pm of every Friday from 11th September to 2nd October,” he sated.
The timetable showed that: Friday 11th September, 2015: Forestry 2 (Essay) 13hrs to 15 hrs; Friday 18th September 2015: Government2 (Essay) 13 hrs to 15 hrs; Friday 25th September, 2015: Further Mathematics 14 hrs to 15.30 hrs; Friday 2nd October, 2015: Applied Electricity2 13 hrs to 14 hrs; and Friday 2nd October, 2015: Applied Electricity1 14 hrs to 15 hrs.
“We remind WAEC that Jum’ah service every Friday is not a design of homo sapien. It has divine and scriptural basis in Qur’an 62:9-11. Any attempt therefore to circumspect it by any means constitutes a challenge to divine authority. This is bound to be counter-productive with its dire consequences for our country particularly at this crucial period when Nigeria needs prayers to survive.
“We assert that WAEC’s sectional timetable is not likely to affect candidates alone as all service providers who happen to be Muslims are bound to be affected. We wonder why no examination subjects were fixed for Sundays if indeed WAEC is under any stress for time. This development has again underlined the justification for Muslims’ agitation for a work-free Friday. It further exposes the social imbalance in the Nigerian system today,” he added.
He therefore charged the Federal Government to do the needful, adding that “Nigerian Muslims have become endangered species hounded from pillar to post. There is no freedom of worship for them. Their rights are violated at will and nobody says or does anything about it. Muslim victims are called names and stereotyped when they try to resist. All these must stop if indeed we are serious about the change mantra.
“Government should call WAEC to order. By the way, what is the role of the Federal Ministry of Education in matters such as this? Is it not expected to protect candidates from this kind of abuse? Didn’t the ministry have any input into WAEC’s timetable? Or did somebody somewhere fail to perform his/her duty?
“We appeal to members of the National Assembly (NASS) to wade into the matter. WAEC must be invited to explain the raison d’etre for this Islam-bashing timetable. NASS is the voice of the voiceless and it should stand up to be counted on a matter which is capable of causing social pandemonium.