The Secondary Education Minister made a surprise visit to some schools in Yaounde last Tuesday to raise awareness on the importance of a clean toilet.
It was at 1:45 p.m. on Tuesday, November 17, 2020, when the Minister of Secondary Education, Nalova Lyonga and the Secretary of State at the Ministry of Secondary Education in Charge of Teachers Training, Boniface Bayaola, made a surprise visit to the Government Bilingual Technical High School Nsam, Yaounde. An uneasy air reigned within the administrative staff, as nobody understood the purpose of the Minister's visit. While Professor Nalova Lyonga made her way into the different areas within the school premises, some staff asked, "where is the principal". Before the principal could arrive, the Minister and her entourage made a stop at the staff toilet. As Nalova Lyonga attempted to enter the teacher's toilet, the staff accompanying her tried to stop her, saying it is a toilet. Minister Nalova Lyonga replied, "Is there a problem entering the staff lavatory." She eventually made her way into the staff toilet and came out with these words on her lips; "if the staff toilet is like this, how will the toilet of students look like? At this point, the principal had arrived.
As Minister Nalova Lyonga moved towards the toilets for students, stench from a distance welcomed her, although there was a woman nearby to clean the toilet as often as possible. The Minister was shocked over the fact that there was no difference between toilets for boys or girls and over 1,000 students used just four small rooms as a toilet. The Minister and her entourage continued their visit to the Government Bilingual High School, Nkol-Eton, the Lycée Général-Leclerc and the Government Bilingual High School Mendong, Yaounde. She rounded up her tour at the Government Bilingual High School Ekounou and the Government High School Odza, on November 18.
Speaking to the press, Nalova Lyonga said teachers are working in very difficult conditions and it is just right to visit and encourage them. This time, her visit focused on toilets and not about academics. Toilets, she said, are things people neglect and keep in the background. Due to such thinking, the Minister said people turn not to clean them. People's offices are their homes and should have a clean toilet. According to the Minister, a toilet makes someone feel comfortable. Because parents have paid fees to send their children to certain schools, Professor Nalova Lyonga said, children should at least have a proper place to ease themselves. She was using the World Toilet Day commemorated last November 19, to raise awareness on the importance of having a clean toilet as well as the consequences of not having one.