Professor Gabsa Wilfred, Acting Secretary General of the Ministry of Higher Education.
What were major outcomes of the 8th Inter-ministerial Committee in charge of Examining and Proposing Solutions to the Preoccupations Raised by Teachers Trade Unions?
The Committee validated the working documents submitted to it by the Technical Secretariat. It was instructed to sit down and prepare the last documents in view of the holding of the National Education Forum which we hope will take place soon. There was also the issue of the integration of the teachers of the primary technical education into the public service. Fortunately during the session a high level official of the Ministry of Public Service and Administrative Reform made a presentation to that regard. The committee as well as the trade union leaders who were present, appreciated the report and encouraged the government to continue in that same light. Concerning the integration, though there are still some files pending, more than 70 per cent of the files have been worked upon. Those that are pending are the ones that have been submitted for signature. From every indication, the good will of the government is there, the process is ongoing and there is no stopping.
How Far with the preparations of the National Education Forum?
The working documents on the National Education Forum were appreciated, accepted, validated for them to be sent to all levels of the education ladder from the national right down to the subdivisional levels. The committee wants to make sure that inputs are received from all levels of education of our country. With the documents validated, all is set for the National Education Forum to begin. In the files presented, there are six major domains in which discussions are going to take place. There are questions of general interest, questions that are peculiar to the English sub-system of education, bilingualism, questions peculiar to the French subsystem of education, among others. We also worked on how information will be collected prior to the education forum. The good thing the committee validated which is worth indicating is the fact that after each level of input, the committee will harmonise every information got without reducing what comes in.
From the vision of the government, the idea is that there will be no taboo topic during the education forum. When is the National Education Forum coming up?
What is fundamental is that the working documents for the forum are ready. They were just validated. While they are putting them in place, I believe the Minister of Higher Education in his capacity as the chairperson of the Inter-ministerial committee will forward the reports to the hierarchy of the Republic, the Prime Minister, Head of Government and eventually, the President of the Republic Head of State. We are waiting for directives and orientations on how to proceed.
The inter-ministerial committee was set up when there were major crises in the education domain in Cameroon. How is the situation now?
To answer the question, you have to look at the aspects from different stand points which are the primary, secondary and higher education sectors. At the level of higher education sector, there is no trouble. In the eight State Universities and the close to 240 private higher education institutions, there is no problem. Schools are going on fine, programmes are taking place the way they are supposed to be, supervision process is on for quality assurance. The application of the Bachelors, Masters and Doctorate system is in place and evolving good. At the level of secondary and high schools, some people assumed unfortunately and erroneously that the GCE that took place last year were not going to be recognized. The certificate is the domain of competence of the country. No international community can determine whether the certificate obtained in Cameroon is validate or not. All those who wrote the GCE last year have been admitted in the higher education system, they rare going to some and some who passed the Advanced Level have been admitted abroad. Generally for the secondary education sector, things are fine in most areas and there are some in which things are still difficult.