14 June 2017

Cameroon: Inalienable Rights to Education

The written part of Cameroon's General Certificate of Education (GCE) 2017 is on day three today and candidates for the first time or so in the history of examinations in the North West and South West Regions are writing in assorted attires away from their reputed clean school uniforms. This is out of fear of being identified owing to the reign of terror therein characterised by threats and even assaults. In fact, ill-intentioned individuals are taking laws into their hands by intimidating and even brutalising school goers who have refused to heed to the call for ghost schools.

A 17-year-old female student of GBHS Ntamulung, Bamenda was assaulted last week by delinquents who inflicted three deep wounds on the girl's upper hand which caused a fracture of the radial bone while she, alongside some friends, was en route for revision studies ahead of the GCE examinations. It was one among many unholy deeds of the lawbreakers. This is even difficult to imagine within a context where all seems to be clamouring for the respect of each other's rights. Education is a fundamental human right contained in several international treaties that Cameroon is party tso.

The right to education is the more essential for the respect of other human rights given that it promotes individual freedom and empowerment. Placing this education, especially of the youngsters, people on whom their families and country rely for a better tomorrow, on the altar of political claims, is inadmissible. Freedom of thought and expression are enshrined in the laws of the land. The Head of State has on several occasions reiterated this. In his 2016 end-of-year nation's address, President Paul Biya said, "Cameroon enjoys political and trade union freedoms which give citizens room to rightfully opine on any aspect of national life including through duly declared strike action." Teachers and lawyers exercised their alienable right to table what they feel are shortcomings to the efficiency of their respective sectors.

Almost everyone saw with them. Dialogue was engaged and fruits are being seen. Transgressing this constitutional right, as is seen to be done now by some individuals, via indulging in acts risky to life, destruction of public and private property as well as trampling on the rights of others, is simply out of place. Inasmuch as citizens have rights to complain against what they feel is not going well, they also have responsibilities among which is to advance the rule of law in the country. Education is an inalienable right of children. It is even a powerful tool by people who feel economically and socially marginalised can lift themselves out of poverty and participate fully in nation building as useful citizens. No one should play with it whatsoever! The population thus have a responsibility to partner with government to ensure an unconditional respect of this right.


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