Schools: Need For Quality Infrastructure

Educational institutions from the basic to higher levels are sprouting up in the urban and rural parts of Cameroon as years pass by. The desire to ensure that schools are brought to the door steps of every desiring Cameroonian is the yearning aspiration of government, religious bodies and private individuals.
In this search to create and run the schools, one notices the coexistence of the best schools in terms of infrastructure and quality staff, those that are average and terrible cases that are characterized by all sorts of precarious situations. Quality in infrastructure and staff are highly determined factors in the quality and competitiveness of the graduates from the educational institutions both at the national and international levels.
The quest to ensure the respect of quality infrastructure in public secondary and high schools  pushed  the Secondary Education Minister Professor Nalova Lyonga out of the comfort of her office early last week to embark on a one-day infrastructure inspection visit to some schools in the capital city, Yaounde. She left the field with varying discoveries, experiences and having given instructions in relation to standard and acceptable conditions of learning. For example, in the Ekounou Professional High School, the Minister assessed the progress of construction work of the ultra-modern complex launched last year. In Government Bilingual High School Essos, Professor Nalova Lyonga inspected the state of the multimedia centre sponsored by the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). While the strides towards modernism were the point of focus in the two previously mentioned public institutions, the case of the Elig-Essono High School deplorably attracted attention considering that students had vacated six classrooms that were hit by flood.  The cause was that the classrooms were built on marshy land and the Minister instructed the school authorities and the local population to jointly work on ensuring drainage while a permanent solution was being sought.
Quality infrastructure indeed becomes the cardinal point to be taken into consideration when creating a school. Government gives authorizations for the creation and running of schools at all the levels. Inspection teams dispatched to the field have to evaluate the nature of the sites where the schools are constructed, the types of institutions with focus on whether the available infrastructure in terms of buildings and equipment guarantee the proper training of pupils and students. Permanent control, evaluation and follow-up missions have to comb the field to ensure the respect of standards and norms in the running of the schools. Private individuals and religious denominations are very much attracted to the educational sector which from every indication has become a lucrative business. However, in so doing, they should consider the cardinal mission of education which is to mould responsible, efficient and competitive students who can aptly fit in the job market and represent a radiant future for the country.
Upon creation, government endowed many schools in urban centres with the state-of-the-art equipment. In fact, these were reference schools that served as training centres. Examples include some selected Government Technical High Schools that were constructed and equipped in some towns of the country with the help of Canadian cooperation. Others in the basic educational sector were constructed by Japanese government. The First Lady Mrs Chantal Biya’s humanitarian organisation, the Circle of Friends of Cameroon (CERAC) has been instrumental in building, equipping and rehabilitating most primary schools that are afterwards handed to government. Some of the infrastructure in many of these schools have been witnessed to be in advanced stages of dilapidation due to lack of the culture of maintenance. It is not enough to acquire the needed quality infrastructure but more importantly, to ensure their prompt and proper maintenance. The infrastructure, especially machines and to...



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