Cabinet Meeting: Effective Preparations For New Academic Year Examined

Below is a press release issued at the end of the cabinet meeting held on August 30, 2018.

“The Prime Minister, Head of Government, His Excellency Philemon Yang, this Thursday 30 August 2018 as from 9:00 a.m., chaired an important Cabinet Meeting at the main building of the Prime Minister's Office. This Meeting focused on the 2018-2019 academic year. The Meeting was attended by the Vice- Prime Minister, the Minister of State, Minister of Justice and Keeper of the Seals, Ministers, Ministers-Delegate and Secretaries of State. Two items featured on the agenda, namely:

1. Statement by the Minister of Higher Education on "preparations for the start of the 2018-2019 academic year in universities";

2. Statements by the Ministers of Basic and Secondary Education on "review of the 2017-2018 school year and preparations for the upcoming school year in primary, nursery and secondary education";

After the introductory statement by the Head of Government, the Minister of Higher Education immediately took the floor and observed that the 2017-2018 academic year in universities was satisfactory. Besides matching universities with the Bachelor-Masters-PhD system (BMP), the mastery of the academic calendar was consolidated with the effective closure of the academic year on 31 July 2018 in all public and private institutions of higher leaming, including professional schools created by the President of the Republic on 8 January 2018. Talking specifically about the 2018- 2019 academic year, he noted that the academic year will run from 1 October 2018 to 31 July 2019.

Overall, about 70,000 new students are expected in the 8 State universities and the 242 private institutions of higher leaming, which will take the number to 520 000 students in all public and private universities. He later discussed the 6 components which are the pillars of the Higher Education policy as defined by the Head of State, namely: (i) quality assurance through the diversification and the development of students' competences; (ii) professionalism of university education by creating new fields of study which are better adapted to the needs of society; (iii) employability of graduates by supporting initiatives of young business creators; (iv) improving infrastructure to improve hosting capacity and work in universities; (v) digital migration of universities; and (vi) the preservation of the social climate in universities.

Speaking after him, the Minister of Basic Education revealed that the 2017-2018 academic year in nursery and primary education was very encouraging. Consolidated statistics show that 4 696 998 pupils went to school last academic year, that is, 3 467 734 in Government schools, and 1 220 324 in private schools. Thanks to the mobilisation of 119 828 teachers, the success rate in various examinations and official examinations organised in 2018 was higher nationwide compared to 2017.the success rate stood at 83.77 for the Certificat d'Etudes Primaires, 92.57 for the First School Leaving Certificate and 85.22 for the Common Entrance Examination.

Regarding preparation for the 2018- 2019 academic year, the Minister of Basic Education presented measures taken at the administrative, pedagogic, material and financial levels to ensure a smooth resumption on 3 September 2018. These measures include the publication of official booklists, the effective implementation of the single book policy, the training of 15 362 teachers on new curricula in primary and preschool, the transfer to Local Authorities of about 4 billion CF AF for the acquisition of minimum packages for Government primary schools and about 12 billion CF AF for the construction of 847 classrooms.

The Meeting then listened to the statement by the Minister of Secondary Education on the progress of results obtained at the end of the 2017-2018 academic year in secondary general and technical education despite the difficulties faced in some Regions of the country. The success rate in secondary education went from 43.34 in 2017 to 56.19, hence a 12.85 increase. This improvement is a result of, amongst others, the substantial increase of teaching hours, and the greater coverage rate of syllabuses across the nation and a better psycho-pedagogic care of stakeholders in the education community.

Regarding preparation for next academic year, the Minister revealed that she will focus on the "clean school" concept which shall be translated by the promotion of moral, intellectual, and physical values, as well as the establishment of standard operating systems in teaching. It is in this vein that 53 clandestine schools have been shut down and vigorous action will be taken to fight against corruption and drug consumption and other narcotics in schools.

The Minister of Secondary Education announced new pedagogic measures which will focus on strengthening professionalism in teaching official languages, the payment of fees on online, and the introduction of cyber-citizenship in the school syllabus. After discussion ensuing from the statements, the Prime Minister drew the attention of ministers in charge of education on the constant migration of teachers to other ministries, especially the newly created ones. He urged all members of Government to comply with the provisions of Circular No. 005/CABIPM of 7 June 2011 on the mobility of teachers within the administration, which ends by stating that teachers are required to teach in classrooms or administrations related to teaching.

The Head of Government instructed the Minister of Higher Education to expand the Technological and Professional Component Support Programme to faculties and work towards making operational the National Management Centre of the Cameroon Interconnection Network and University Digital Centres.

The Meeting was adjourned at Il :30 a.m.”

Yaounde, 30 August 2018
Secretary General, Prime Minister’s Office

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