Before we do so, let us look at some of the reasons WHY parents in the English speaking section of Cameroon have been holding their children back from going to school over the past 8 weeks and counting:
Parents all over Cameroon knows the importance of education which is clearly indicated by our our Net Enrolment rate of 99% and 87% for boys and girls respectively. But as stated out about three years ago by our brother Mapri Edward;
“When we consider access to education, we are doing fine BUT when we look at the other indicators, we realise that these figures which the governments proudly disseminates are deceptive because the quality of teaching and learning is far below average. The survival or completion rate in primary in 2012 was about 57% and the transition to secondary for boys was and still is about 45% and for girls 39%. In a nutshell, many children in Cameroon go to school but due to the multiple inherent barriers and bottlenecks of the education sector (lack of teachers or poorly trained teachers, lack of adequate school infrastructure and textbooks, poor community and parental involvement), either drop out or fail to continue to secondary”.For the few that succeed to go to Secondary schools where the dropout rate is even FAR higher (than 55-60% stated above), please take a look at the analysis of the 2014 GCE core subject results as presented bellow by Fako-UK / FAKO NEWS CENTRE:
“English is the language that defines the English-speaking Cameroonian. It has to be taught well, spoken well and written well. It is the medium through which English-speaking pupils and students are taught in schools hence it is the most important subject at the Ordinary Level. This year, 89,821 candidates sat the English exam at the ‘O-Levels’ and 77,911 failed (86.74 per cent failed). In mathematical ratios, this means that out of every 100 candidates who sat the English exam, roughly 87 failed. This is very shocking".The 77,911 candidates who failed English would have to re-sit GCE O-levels in the coming year(s) if they want to study beyond high school. This is because no matter how intelligent one is, passing English language is a prerequisite for gaining admission into all institutions of higher learning in Cameroon and the rest of the English-speaking world.
In mathematics, 86,724 candidates sat the exam and 78,568 failed (90.60 per cent failed). This is a disgrace. No wonder even though some students passed the O-levels overall, they still burst into tears because they failed English and/or maths. They and their parents knew straight away that they (students) would have to re-sit the GCE O-levels or else they would be stuck after their A-levels.”
English speaking Cameroonians have been crying out for educational reforms for several decades but the Government’s response have been exceptionally poor:
• Most of the teachers in our government schools are recruited by the parents who equally pay their salaries.
• Some newly qualified government teachers often go for up to 2 years without salaries, with teachers being forced to pay bribes as high as 30% of their 2 years’ salary’s to corrupt officials before receiving their salaries.
• Teachers who cannot even express themselves in English are being recruited from the French section to teach English speaking children who on their part cannot say a word in French.
• Most of the Government schools in the English section of Cameroon are often constructed by parents. In most cases, the government create a school, build one classroom (often with no furniture’s), appoint the school principal with a deputy and the rest is all left for the parents to continue.
With the parents building the classrooms, supplying furniture’s, recruiting and paying teachers’ salaries, the poor parents are often left with little or no moneys to buy the children’s Books and Uniforms – The results are children either performing poorly or dropping out altogether as it becomes even clearer that their seniors who manage to even graduate from Universities often end up back at home with no jobs.
It is thus very clear, that our schools are presently failing our children and we need to do something drastic and immediately to remedy the situation. We need to make some sacrifices and fix the problem once and for all:
That is WHY our parents are keeping their children at home untill the government shows concrete signs that it wants to resolve these issues.
After the last protests in the 90’s the government (and parliament) made constitutional changes to implement decentralization but more than 20 years after those constitutional changes, the problems are even worse.
It is thus for that reason that the English-speaking Cameroonians want to take the fate of their children’s education (and other aspects of live) into their own hands, we want to take partial or full responsibilities for our problems and the only guarantees to make it possible (for us to be resonsible for our problems in a United Cameroon) is through a Federation. The past 20 years have clearly shown that Decentralisation have failed to solve this and MANY other problems.
We want our children back in school but school must be a place where they are educated! NO CHILD SHOULD BE LEFT BEHIND!
Written by Edwin Bongaman Lukong