Education Minister Suspends New Reform In Anglophone Sub-System

Secondary Education Minister, Louis Bapés Bapés, has put on hold the reform in the Anglophone sub-system of education that lumped Biology, Chemistry and Physics to be taught under the caption “Science” in Forms One and Two.

While the suspension is on, MINESEC, officials and teachers’ trade unions would engage in an intense sensitisation and concertation with all education stakeholders on the proposed reform.

This was one of the major outcomes of a crisis meeting that held in the Minister’s Cabinet in Yaounde on October 17.

Debates at the meeting, moderated by Louis Bapés Bapés himself, had a battery of inspectors led by the Inspector General of Education in the Ministry, Mpoudi Ngolle, on the one hand, and members of the Cameroon Teachers’ Trade Union, CATTU, led by its Interim National Executive Secretary General, Christopher Atanga Bunai, on the other. The Post gathered that the current reform already going on in some schools of the Francophone sub-system of education, is one of the points on the road map submitted by the Ministry of Secondary Education, MINESEC.

The Minister reportedly argued that, because of the short time needed to submit the road map, all education stakeholders could not be contacted to brainstorm on the proposed reform. The reform, which MINESEC officials wanted implemented three weeks into the 2012/2013 academic year, received outright rejection from CATTU that argued that it was more than precipitated and could not, therefore, be implemented in the Anglophone sub-system.

Stating the reactions at the meeting, Bapés Bapés gave reason to the concerns of CATTU. Atanga told The Post that, while the proposed reform brought about an improvement in the Francophone sub-system, it instead, unfortunately, negatively affected the Anglophone sub-system where teachers have been teaching Biology, Chemistry and Physics as separate subjects for decades.

He said the Minister was clear that Cameroon is blessed with the Anglophone and Francophone sub-systems of education which must be maintained as such. The CATTU Interim Scribe said it was resolved at the meeting that Biology, Chemistry and Physics would continue to be taught as separate subjects in the Anglophone sub-system as it was the case before the proposed reform.

He remarked that time allocation for the three subjects lumped under the ‘Science’ appellation was reviewed. The three subjects were allocated two periods in the new reform down from the initial 9 periods per week. After brainstorming, it was agreed that the three subjects would have six periods, that is, two periods of 50 minutes each, per week.

Atanga explained that officials at the meeting reasoned with them and agreed to scrap the teaching of ancient languages (Greek and Latin) from the new reform package. He said one period was also deducted from the teaching of citizenship and that is how they managed to get the six periods for the teaching of Biology, Chemistry and Physics, for the cycle of observation meant for Forms One and Two.

He encouraged all teachers to incorporate the teaching of citizenship in their core subjects, which, he believes, would help the students better. On the poor timing for the implementation of the proposed reform, The Post was told that the Minister took time to explain that some schools, especially those of the Francophone sub-system, are already implementing the new reform and it is, therefore, difficult to stop them at this level.

The stakeholders at the meeting, therefore, agreed that schools that have started implementing the new reform should continue, while those who were yet to begin should wait for the new academic year. “Between now and the next academic year, CATTU would organise meetings at various levels to sensitise teachers and vulgarise the new reform,” Atanga stated.

Considering that the new reform refers to the first cycle as that of observation, where the three subjects would be taught in Forms One and Two, Atanga said they also brought up the idea of a complete package containing what must be taught in the 2nd cycle of orientation (Forms Three to Five) and the 3rd cycle of specialisation (Lower and Upper Sixth Forms). In reaction, inspectors in the Ministry were called upon to work with the Regional Pedagogic Inspectors, RPI, in order to prepare a package for the cycle of orientation for the mean time.

“I am therefore urging the teachers to take advantage of the Minister’s call and make their inputs through their subject associations or RPI, within the shortest time possible,” Atanga appealed. He hailed the introduction of national cultures and national languages as proposed in the reform, remarking that the initiative would enhance the culture of tolerance and reinforce national integration. Emphasis on the competence-based approach to teaching, as contained in the reform package, according to Atanga, would go a long way to develop skills and self reliance.

The October 17 meeting came on the heels of one that held in Bamenda recently, between officials from that Ministry, RPIs, Divisional Delegates, CATTU and some parents, in which the stakeholders failed to agree on some major issues following CATTU’s objection to the timing and implementation of the reform.

 By Nformi Sonde Kinsai

Source : Cameroon Post

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