FCFA Millions lost in vandalized school infrastructure during the Anglophone crises rocking the North West and South West regions.
Away from the setback suffered by academics in the English subsystem of education since the Anglophone crisis started, the burning of school infrastructures has not helped matters in efforts to handle concerns raised by protesting Anglophone teachers and Common Law lawyers. The list of causalities registered so far is enormous. They include the burning of a semi permanent or wooden structure of the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Bamenda (UBa), in the neighbourhood of the Bamenda Regional hospital. The department of Infrastructure at UBa, recently told Cameroon Tribune that the semi permanent structure which cost about FCFA 15 million to erect was part of a FCFA 427 billion complex later built to serve the Faculty of Health Sciences. In effect, the Minister of Higher Education, Prof. Jacques Fame Ndongo inaugurated the new infrastructure on April 29, 2017 and it comprises 36 beds, 2078 seats, four consultation boxes and eight offices for Lecturers. Also, the Japanese -built Government Bilingual primacy school, (GBS) Atuakom, Bamenda II Sub Division was burnt on the night of May 14, 2017. The rare jewel, offered by a friendly country to enhance the teaching and learning process was reduced to ashes. Fire casualties were also registered when the office of the Principal of GBHS Nitop and that of the Vice Principal of GBHS Bayelle were burnt alongside registers, computers report cards and furniture. Two classrooms in GBHS Wum were completely burnt. The car of the Vice Principal of GBHS Down Town, Bamenda was damaged and the car of the Principal of GBHS Nkambe was equally burnt. The car of the Principal of GBHS Ntamulung was also damaged as well as that of the Vice Principal of GBHS Mbatu. The Cars of the Principal and Vice Principal of GHS Meli in Boyo Division were damaged. An attempt to burn the office of the Principal in GBHS Bayelle did not materialize and in GBHS Atiela, the school bus was burnt. In effect, while many are at a loss, scratching hair to understand how the destruction of useful public property can be a solution, social media suggests that the acts are perpetrated by unidentified people in punishment for institutions that ignore or refuse to respect ghost towns calls. It is even more questionable why such useful institutions that must be reconstructed from scratch in future are the target of fire. Many think that schools are the wrong targets because they are community or better still, communal assets. It is common knowledge that most school buildings in the North West Region are products of Parent/Teacher efforts. In short, fire everywhere in markets, schools and public structures jeopardizes the future of education. It is an abuse on the right to education because it is a speed brake to the teaching and learning process. Worse still, coming at a time when there is a short supply of infrastructure to enhance the quality of teaching and learning does not help. It is on record that the North West region features schools and colleges without a single government building since inception and it is thanks to community efforts that children are sheltered in schools.
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Tegum Daniel: "Vandalizing Infrastructure Is Detrimental To Literacy"
Vice Principal, GHS Kwang-Pinyin
"Vandalizing school infrastructure could lead to frustrations in the concerned communities. It could lead to the increase in the rate of illiteracy. School infrastructure are tools for knowledge and when destroyed. It could reduce the love for education and worse still, increase the rate of juvenile delinquency. It could also cause deviation of attention or discourage children from education. It could equally make the community to reconsider less favourable alternatives to education for their children. The concerned community is never at peace with the sight of vandalized infrastructure."
Nkenye Josephine: "Classes Very Effective"
Form Three Student GBHS Kosala
"Studies have been very effective today even though I happened to have been the only student in my class. I wish to beg on all my friends to come back to school so that I can at least see them and we all study together because I feel a type studying in class alone."
Andrew Tazi Mbencho: "Anglophone Classes Registered Fewer Students"
Principal GBHS Station Kumba
"The kickoff has been very good with all classes having students. The only problem we have is that in the Anglophone classes there are fewer students than in the francophone classes. For the academic and administrative staff the turnout is wonderful and everybody is present. We held meetings with them before the resumption that's why even in a class where there is only one child they have teachers."
Mbu Johnson: "The Start Was Timid But Sure"
"To me the beginning of the academic year is very low key, timid and poor. As you know the Anglophone crisis has made many parents to be afraid due to the threats from the social media on school boycott. I am equally happy with the turnout in most government colleges in Kumba. That notwithstanding I think by the end of the week the situation must have changed."