Respecting The Rights Of Children

COMMENTARY.

Schools are going to resume on 4 September, 2017 throughout the national territory for the 2017-2018 academic year and the situation of pupils and students in the North West and South West regions remains confusing. There are still threats and attempts to frustrate young Cameroonians in the two localities who simply want to acquire knowledge so as to be well educated and hope for a better future. However, the damage being done to the lives of the children in the two regions does not seem to matter to those who keep thinking that kids can serve as political puns and/or shields while the perpetrators of such vile remarks bask in foreign lands promising a strange Eldorado to our youth. Repeated calls for ghost towns and general destabilisation of businesses are the only tools in the hands of those who pursue a political agenda by relying solely on the vulnerable population to make good their demands. In the process, no one has borthered to think if those on the ground have any say and could even matter in decision-making. In short, the voices of reason and rationale seem to have been thrown to the dogs and the leitmotiv now is outright cynicism. Recent cases of arson reported in some schools within the North West and South West have been, to say the least, unfortunate incidents in the attempts to articulate the grievances raised by the Trade Unions of Anglophone Teachers and Common Law Lawyers. The initial list of eight, then eleven and finally over twenty problems tabled by protesting teachers met with a positive response from the State. Proof is that those who were genuinely concerned by the strike action called off their protest hoping that Cameroonians of goodwill were going to give dialogue a chance. Sadly, that was not to be the case. People who jumped into the struggle with hidden plans have been fighting hard to steer the others away from issues that could help young Cameroonians acquire sound knowledge. Instead, they have taken delight in destroying the infrastructure, painfully put in place, for the most part, by parents and religious denominations to permit our youth to go to school. By so doing those destroying forget to understand that even in difficult situations there are people who find reason to pursue their goals. Civil right movements and other liberation struggles recorded worldwide for ages have never targeted academics. Rather, everyone thinks going to school is sacrosanct and knowledge acquisition a divine-mission that should be encouraged no matter the circumstances. Even in situations of combat, children and women are often identified for protection because they constitute a defenceless segment of the population that must deserve support and care. Curiously, children in the North West and South West were last academic year obliged into a hide-and-seek game that completely knocked many out of the academic environment. Disturbingly, those who vehemently go out to spread fear and scare children away from educational establishments are not helping matters, because the masses that are being forced to stay out of school, as testified by the results of the last General Certificate of Education Examinations published by the GCE Board, will end up with a bleak future. No one can argue that it is the inalienable right of every child to go to school and once any group of individuals start attacking the educational interests of students and pupils, then those involved in such risky decisions are placing themselves on the wrong side of history. After all, is it not said in black and white that one person’s rights end where those of the other begin? Those who have an axe to grind with the existing political organisation of the State had better looked for more democratic and rational ways of getting their messages across and not put the future of young Cameroonians to jeopardy.

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