Tameh Valentine, National President of the Teachers Association of Cameroon, TAC.
Could you size up the general conduct of the just-ended Major National Dialogue? The Major National dialogue was conceived and presented by the President as a conclave to frontally tackle especially the Anglophone crisis. I think it was most disconcerting that some issues were proscribed and aggressively rejected whenever they came up in certain commissions, one of them being discussions on the form of state, which from all indications was what many indignant persons wanted to hear broached. What new did the dialogue table suggest for the Anglophone or English sub system of education? Well, the Education Commission agreed on the need for a second Inspectorate General of Education to be created to take care of the Anglophone subsystem of Education, thus highlighting the need to keep the pedagogic chains of two educational subsystems split, parallel and specific, however with the possibility of the one tapping from the strengths of the other. Perhaps, I should add that what has been wrong with the nation's educational system has generally been the fact of snap, unprepared attempted reforms that did not rigorously take into consideration the bicultural nature of the nation's peoples, as spelt out in the constitution. Another snag has been the lack of a follow-up or of implementation of very good policies and laws that have been taken over the years, some of which have lain fallow for long spells and finally become obsolete for want of texts of application. Another serious problem has been the creation and non-maintenance/nonuse of research centres, like the Yaounde and Buea IPARs, which were laudable creations meant to continue to suggest novel reforms and inroads for education, but which existed only as paper structures since they were created till they went under. Ahead of the Major National dialogue, and as far as the teacher's demands that the Trade Unions negotiated in the ad hoc committee are concerned, the state has done quite a lot. There is an evaluation documents in existence which shows that the state slowly but surely implemented quite a good number of the demands and reforms, which unfortunately today are lying fallow, just waiting to be used by the beneficiaries of the Anglophone subsystem when they would decide to bury the hatchet and get back into a normal existence. This appraisal I make is only for the teacher trade union demands, not for the lawyers' demands. What are your expectations after the Major National Dialogue? I pray the state superstructure goes ahead to implement all agreed upon resolutions and recommendations. One can never tell how far even a palliative measure, implemented wholeheartedly, can go to assuage hurt feelings.