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Anglophone Crisis: School Boycott Losing Appeal

Students in assorted wear heading for school

 The mention of school resumption to parents in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon during the wee days of the 2017/2018 academic year was a taboo, an absurdity of the times and an indication that your do not belong. Many joint the strike for the restoration of a professional education system where their children could be assured of a brighter future, the high rate of unemployment amongst Anglophones combated and the educational system improved upon.

September 4th 2017, there was very timid turnout of pupils, students and teachers for schools. While those of the government schools were present, though dominated by their counterparts of the francophone subsystem of education, private schools in Anglophone Cameroon remained close until early October where flashes of a timid resumption started to spark.

Parents in Bamenda the chief town of the NWR have today shun calls for school boycott and are now sending their children to school. Most if not all schools in Bamenda have gradually reopened their doors to pupils and students. At a glance students and pupils are seen rushing to their various classrooms, parents who do not want to be left behind are rushing to the administrative block of the various schools their kids attend to seek modalities.

In some schools as at now,  only the books  are paid for and any token for registration beginning from 10,000frs. Most parents this reporter spoke to say they had paid more than half of the fees for the previous year which went down prematurely and were not ready to go into such risk. "When we are sure that things are normal we shall pay the remainder of the fees, that's not a problem" a cautious parent told me.

 Anxious, tense and uncertain as the school Milieu may seem, these kids are happy to meet their mates once more, the teachers are flowing in hoping for a certain future while the school administrators and proprietors ill-respective of their stand in this crisis and happy to see their life gradually picking up.

It is not clear how all this will work out, Students now appear in assorted attires, justified by fear of the unknown.  Teachers in the private sector are not certain if they would be paid and how much, parents are withholding payments, proprietors are uncertain as to what to do next as their “the ghost may still have its ghost lingering around”.

Many critics are worried about full school resumption. What will happen to those still in jail? what has changed in the educational system one year after?  What meaningful reforms has been implemented to the educational system? It should be recalled that on the 5th of October which marked one year when the teachers trade union leaders of CATTU, TAC, BATTU, PEATTU, CEWOTU AND SYNES took to the rostrum to announce that should the government of Cameroon not listen to their petitions they were going to close school doors by November 21, same date this year they stood to appreciate government but said much needs to be done and that will be discussed in the upcoming National education forum.

Many parents lost trust in these strike leaders when they failed to follow the fictitious program of their arrival to take and restore Southern Cameroons. Parents opined that the messages sent out were very misleading and sent daring youth to the streets who lost their lives, till date those families are still aggrieved.

Fear still hold tight to parents and students

Now they see no reason keeping their children home with no directives on the struggle as was the case before. Good thing schools have resumed but what difference will their after school life bring? Will their jobs be guaranteed upon graduation? Have all those French teachers been taken off English schools to where their linguistic strength lies? Shall there be many administrators, civil engineers, doctors, bankers, than “benskin” riders? Shall Anglophones be treated with fairness in government offices? shall they hold posts of responsibility? Shall regional balance…..?

By Pedmia Shatu

Source: Bamenda Online

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