New departments created in State Universities, teachers redeployed, school calendar readjusted…Fruits of frank dialogue under an inter-ministerial ad hoc committee.
In the wake of generalised discontent from teachers trade unions of the Anglo-Saxon sub system of education on what leaders qualified as the erosion of its values, government has been striving to weather the storm. Ever since the teachers decided to down tools on 21 November 2016, government has been moving from negotiations to promises and fulfilment.
The Prime Minister, Head of Government, by Order No. 118/CAB/PM of 8 November 2016 created a committee tasked with proposing solutions to the concerns of all teachers in Cameroon. Meanwhile, an Ad Hoc inter-ministerial Committee tasked specifically with examining the problems of English-speaking teachers' trade unions was created on 29 November 2016 to tackle issues raised by leaders of the trade unions during negotiations with the Head of Government in Bamenda on 25 and 26 November 2016.
Palpable Decisions, Visible Fruits
With regards to worries of lack of teachers in Anglophone technical schools, the Head of State ordered a special recruitment of 1,000 young science and technical teachers. On the weak financial capacity of lay private and confessional schools to be up to standards in the training of their students, the Head of State ordered the setting up of a special fund of FCFA 2 billion to serve as subsidy for lay private and confessional schools.
For Basic Schools
The Minister of Basic Education prepared the ground and launched an integration exercise for contract teachers into the public service. In fact, a multi-year contracting plan for “parent teachers” is being implemented with the support of development partners. Within this framework, some 3,050 “parent teachers” saw their ties consolidated recently through the contracting process. For the current fmancial year, government is working on contracting 2,970 holders of the Grade I Certificates. The operation is on course.
The Ministry of Secondary Education undertook an operation to carry out a survey of secondary schools in view of redeploying teachers. With the census over, the teachers have been effectively redeployed according to the needs. To save the academic year for the English sub system of education that had suffered under the weight of the prolonged teachers’ strike, the Minister of Secondary Education readjusted the calendar of the school year from registration for examinations organised by the GCE Board, through catch-up classes to the written dates for the respective end-of-course examinations. Field reports indicate that teachers and students, especially those of examination classes, are burning midnight oil and stretching full length to be apt for the various examinations.
An expressed lack of French teachers in English-speaking secondary schools would find a solution with the creation of a Department of French Modern Letters at the University of Bamenda. An Order to create this department has already been signed by the Minister of Higher Education. Trade Unionists had decried the ‘half-baked’ nature of some graduates from the Higher Teachers’ Training Colleges which often led to teachers trained in some system being sent to teach subjects for which they were not trained or to teach in the specific language of instruction. The new department therefore comes to solve a recurrent problem of avoiding a situation where hastily-trained teachers were made to teach in their second language. Such a department coupled with the creation of a National Committee for the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism, could greatly boost the teaching and learning process in the country as well as enhance the bilingual nature of Cameroonians.