5 September 2017

Cameroon: Giving Priority to Education

Photo: Rfi
Cameroun

Schools opened their doors yesterday for the 2017-2018 academic year amidst fears of whether or not the expected smooth return to classes will be observed nationwide. If in the Far North and East Regions the reserve has been imposed by insecurity and refugee influx, the case in the North West and South West has been provoked by disturbances observed last academic year as a result of trade union claims on better academic performance that were transformed into political machinations, especially by Cameroonians in search of greener pastures abroad. Their views have been woven into the current realities in the country boasted by the social media that has provided a golden platform for varied pieces of information, some intended to create fear and intimidation. Those who initially posed problems related to the content of the Anglo-Saxon sub-system of education in the country saw themselves relegated to the background. The arrest of some ring leaders compounded the situation and every discussion was now centred on their release or else nothing functions. With the Presidential pardon on detainees last 30 August, 2017 some of those who qualified to benefit from the clemency are today free. While government officials and humanitarian bodies have been mobilising to get internally displaced children and refugee kids in the East and Far North return to school, optimists are also looking forward to the same unperturbed school-going atmosphere in the two Anglophone regions. While idealists argued for a total resolution of problems raised by Anglophone activists as pre-condition for a return to normalcy, those who favour a realistic approach to national issues have been vocal about the need for a progressive solution that must not take innocent children hostage. Cynicism, intoxication and other forms of negativism have hitherto gained the air living parents, pupils, and students at cross-roads. Some people even resolved to witch-hunting and victimisation to settle scores and such vices in no way help build a progressive society. It might never be too much to insist that no matter the differences that people nurse, children cannot be sacrificial lambs or shields in any situation of conflict and commonsense requires that kids across the entire nation be given a chance to acquire knowledge that is the only gateway to success for them. Compromising their future on the altar of whatever political complaints cannot be justified. Evidently, the scares of last academic year ought to remain behind following measures taken by government throughout the period of social tension in the two Anglophone regions to meet Teachers' Trade Union demands and security efforts in the East and Northern parts should also be able to guarantee the return to normalcy. Postponing the future of children by preventing them from the pursuit of knowledge is to say the least sadism and the social consequences of delinquency and other misgivings have been visible of late. Those who have taken undue advantage of genuine concerns identified by teachers and Common Law Lawyers to present political demands and prohibit the return to classes for children need to rethink and avoid mixing up issues. The overture given by the Head of State that the grievances tabled within the prescribed context will be carefully examined and responses provided ought to reassure those who are aggrieved. Good enough, even the most embittered of those complaining are agreed on the fact that the onus of their dissatisfaction is to provide better living conditions for themselves and future generations. Such noble concerns logically should preoccupy all and sundry and not lead to any amalgamation whereby priorities like better education for young Cameroonians should be compromised.

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