An extra-ordinary council session of the body met last Friday to address the ghost school syndrome that might affect exams this year.
Potential candidates for the 2017 exams organised by the Cameroon General Certificate of Education (GCE Board) have been given another chance up to the 20th March, 2017, at 2pm to formalise their registration.
This was resolved at the extra-ordinary Council session of the GCE Board held in Buea, 3 March, 2017, under the chairmanship of Professor Peter Alange Abety, GCE Board Chairman. The extra-ordinary Council session, held in the conference hall of the Board’s Office, was necessitated by the current ghost school crisis which has impacted heavily on the academic year with thousands of students staying away from school in Anglophone Cameroon since 21 November, 2016, when the teachers’ strike was declared in Bamenda.
Professor Abety took time to infuse the call for school resumption in Anglophone Cameroon. He emphasised that the extra-ordinary board Council session addressed the fact that GCE candidates had stayed away from school for over sixty days constituting what he termed a “big worry” in that ill-prepared candidates could compromise the standards already established by the exam Board. While acknowledging the problems that had ignited the strike, Abety implored parents and all involved not to escalate the existing anger but to have trust in the government-unionist dialogue which already produced fruits as far as education was concerned. He recalled that the PM displaced himself from Yaounde to Bamenda for two days as well as the Minister of Secondary Education who even went right to Kumbo (NWR) to investigate the real causes of the strike.
The extra-ordinary Council pulled all 21 Board members including representatives of the various education stakeholders like Catholics, Protestants, Islamic and teachers’ trade unions who made committed declarations to the press in favour of school reopening.
In a five-point press release read out during the session by the GCE board Registrar, Humphrey Monono, the Board Registror appealed to all education stakeholders to effectively take back their children to school by Tuesday, 7 March, 2017. The Council called on lay private and confessional education authorities to disseminate information calling back students to their various schools. While the Council authorised the Registrar to publish all data on the 2017 examinations, the body congratulated parents, candidates and chiefs of GCE centres for undertaking the registration exercise according to tradition.
The Council meeting reiterated the position of their titular Minister of Secondary Education that in consonance with the UNESCO principles and rules there would be no blank academic year in Cameroon. Consequently, the body called on candidates, teachers and parents to continue preparations for certificate exams organised by the GCE Board.
Reverend Father Zepherinus Yem Mbuh: “Let Parents Cry Loud”
Assistant National Secretary for Catholic Education
“The Bishops of the Bamenda Episcopal Province did not ask parents to collect their children from school. Individual school administrators, faced with the reality on the ground, would have invited parents to take their children before the closing date assigned by Government. It is the Ministry that fixes the calendar for the school year. I think in this matter we should not escape the question, which is why are parents keeping their children back home? And if there is any parent who has brought his or her child to any private school and that child has been turned back home let the parent cry foul and cry loud”.
Abdou Kanfon Borno (El Hajj): “Let Parents Send Children to school”
National Secretary of Islamic Private Education
“I appeal to the parents in the North West and South West Regions to have their children back to school because we cannot continue to add salt on our wounds. Our teachers went on strike to cause the Government to address issues concerning the Anglophone sub-section of education. Now we are aware that the Government is doing some effort and we are sure that the Government will continue to address the recommendations that were made in the Ad hoc committee set up for the purpose. I am joining my voice through the Imams who are already sensitising the parents to send their children to school from 7 March, 2017”.
Reverend Fomuso Buma-Foncham Henri: “We Are Working On a Catch-up Programme”
Representative of Protestant Education
“The churches started formal education in this country. We would not for anything want to disrupt it. The 15 proprietors of protestant education are very ready to have their schools resume. They never closed down the schools. We do not have the gendarmes to go chasing them back to school. Education is apolitical and remains a fundamental right. It is unfortunate that things went to this extent. The protestant order of education is already working on a catch-up programme and making proposals to proprietors on how to get the schools resume”.
Tameh Valentine: “Issues We Raised Are Being Addressed”
National President of Teachers Association of Cameroon (TAC)
“All the issues we raised during the dialogue are being addressed. Even if people are angry, at a certain moment they do not allow anger to consume them. They must listen to the silence of inner eloquence. Let people listen to that inner voice so what we do not have far negative consequences. Even where there are most murderous wars children are going to school. I know of Casamance in Senegal and Syria where children are going to school despite the wars. Though we are not putting it now as a pre-condition for children to go to school, but let the Government, too, be able to grant amnesty and clemency to our teachers who are arrested”.
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