10 September 2017

Cameroon: Catch-Up Classes - the Path to Cover Lost Time

Educationists emphasise the current catch-up classes are corrective enough for last year's missing courses

The first week of the 2017-18 academic year that kicked off last September 4, 2017, is proving to be more intensive than ever in the South West Region with readjustments of school timetables. As instructed by the Ministries of Secondary Education and Basic Education, the various schools are taking an extra one hour daily to remedy for the lost lessons of last year. This implies that Primary and Secondary General Education have to begin classes at 7.30am and shift their closing time to 3.30pm as against 2.30 pm previously. For the Secondary Technical Education that usually closed at 4:00pm, they have to close now at 5:00pm. Education officials explain that this new disposition, meant as a corrective measure for last year's ghost schools, will run up to 11 November, 2017, when the scheme for this new academic year will begin. During the just ended week, school principals who had had time to sensitise their staff on the new adjustments quickly delved into the fresh system. At the Government High School Buea Town, students are sitting up to the adjustments by coming to school early enough. The new Principal, Mrs Mokombo Mary Enjema Lika, recently transferred from Bolifamba, was assiduous ensuring that classes began as scheduled. Last Saturday, a number of students were seen in class ready to take their remedial lessons which run till 12 noon. This entails that a school week now has nine extra hours for catch-up classes spread into one additional hour daily times five and the four hours on Saturday. The nine hours were equally being respected at the Government Technical High School Molyko-Buea where Cameroon Tribune met the Principal, Epey Ronard, in his office on Saturday. He explained that the second week would show the real colours of the adjustments because students in school were increasing by the day. Prior to the kick-off last 4 September, holiday classes had taken centre-stage from July through August in the municipalities of the Region championed by Limbe and Buea. The Governor of the South West Region, Bernard Okalia Bilai, who set the tone early August, was quickly relayed by the various Senior Divisional Officers for Lebialem, Kupe Muanenguba, Manyu, Ndian, Meme and Fako. Under them, the various Divisional Delegates for Basic and Secondary Education in collaboration with their school Head Teachers and Principals animated the holiday catch-up classes.

Reactions

Ngefah Patricia: "Extra Classes Are Effective"

Teacher

"Extra classes are effective and important for learning. School children have lost an academic year and extra classes will help them catch up all what has been lost. The Minister's decision to add daily hours of teaching and Saturday classes is a welcome initiative that if well respected by all schools will enhance the learning process as children move to the next class. In the school where I teach, catch up classes were ongoing for two weeks before the resumption of schools. We have all taken a firm commitment to execute it to the latter. The catch classes will really facilitate the teaching and learning process this academic year."

Bassang Victory Marshal Ayafor: "There Should Be No Break"

Parent

"Catch up classes are important because of the cumulative aspect of education where one class leads to another. In education, one class empties into the other and there should be no break. Once the chain is threatened there must be a catch up. Even very intelligent children that double promotions have challenges because the education chain is broken. In short, catch up classes keep the education chain going."

Mbonde Sarah: "All Subjects Were Offered"

GHS Buea Rural

"The holiday classes and the current catch-up classes are good opportunities. The holiday classes went a long way to help pupils and students in the entire municipality since there was practically no school last academic year. Pupils and students with me included, I believed, I gained so much. All the subjects taught in normal school period were offered and the classes were serious. Now we are edified to face the academic year 2017/2018"

Djou Nzemssing Shamir: "The Holiday Classes Were Very Helpful"

Student, BGS Molyko-Buea

"The holidays extra classes were very helpful to pupils and students since two school terms were lost last year. My junior siblings and I had a lot in the catch-up classes. As you can remember, classes stopped in November 21, 2016. You can just imagine the idle minds students and pupils had through that period. The holiday classes were really a blessing."

Leke Philip: "I Advise Students To Take It Seriously"

Tutor and Senior Discipline Master, Intermediate Comprehensive College, Buea

"We ran holiday catch-up classes for two months to cover the lost period of last year. This was from 1st of July to end of August. At the end of it, we filled out report cards and handed to those who attended classes to enable them move on to the next classes. So, we have covered the work of last year. The Saturday classes now are for those who did not attend holiday classes. I advise students take catch-up classes very seriously. They may not have another opportunity to redeem their studies"

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