The concoction of textbook list by school proprietors, obliges some parents to buy more than chosen by the government
A few weeks from now, pupils and students are expected to kickstart the 2019 - 2020 academic year in Cameroon. In most of the streets in the major towns, parents can be seen criss-crossing the different book shops to get the required didactic materials for their children. While carrying out these arduous exercise, some are confused because of the fact that, some school proprietors have added books that are not on the official book list made public by the government. A case in point is that of Mr. Nwang Emmanuel, father of two, whose children attend a private school at the Obili residential area in Yaounde. Of the eight text books he intends to buy for his child in class four, three are not on the official book list. Same for his child in secondary school where three of the eleven text books were not also on the list. After moving through nearly all the bookshops where he was told the said books are not on the programme, he was advised to go to bookshops where second hand books are sold. While there, he was also told to contact the school because most of the books that are not on programme are sold by the class teachers or school authorities.
Another case is that of Madam M. Frida at the Simbok neighbourhood who in an attempt to avoid last minute rush started buying her son's textbooks following the official school list. But to her greatest surprise, some of the books she bought were not on the book list she was given. "I had bought nearly all the books for my son thinking that nothing has changed as said by the government. When I went to pay the registration, I was given a booklist that was different from the official list. When I asked, the secretary said she was executing orders from the proprietor of the school". She narrated. These illegal inclusion of books and many other manoeuvres by some school proprietors, teachers and publishers have several times been condemned by the National Council for the Approval of Textbooks and Didactic Manuals whose Permanent Secretary Marcellin Vounda Etoa has reiterated an order signed by the Minister of Basic Education in 2018 spelling out the number of textbooks schools will henceforth have. According to the decision, pupils in primary school will have at most nine textbooks while those in nursery schools, three textbooks, be it in the French or English sub-systems of education.
Consequently, the same textbook that will be used in the teaching of the English Language or Mathematics in the Littoral Region, will be the same textbook that will be used in the teaching of the same subjects in Kribi in the South or any other school in the West, North West or Northern Regions of the country.