7,086 schools need rehabilitation, 3,074 schools have been abandoned, 167 schools destroyed, 36 schools burnt, 42 occupied by criminal gangs and 3,036 schools need cleaning with over 4334 primary school teachers displaced and 211 secondary teachers chased out of 55 communities in the North West region. This was revealed during a preparatory meeting for the 2019/2020 academic year that brought together educational stakeholders in Bamenda on the 16th of July 2019.
Chaired by the Secretary General at the North West Governor’s office Harry Lanyuy Ngwanyi, the meeting served as a platform for PTA presidents and teachers in the region to air their challenges while looking at options and measures that can facilitate the effective resumption of schools come September.
The ongoing Anglophone crisis has shattered the educational sector in the region into pieces for the past 3 years with many kids staying away from school, educational infrastructures destroyed and teachers on the run. A situation Harry Lanyuy described as a “future destroyer”. “It is the greatest wish of any young person to get a decent job and a family but how can he achieve such a dream without education?” He further called on the teachers to stop sitting on the fence and take action to see that children go back to school, by creating new strategies and taking resolutions.
According to Wilfred Wambeng Ndong, Regional delegate of basic education, an aggressive campaign will be carried out in communities to encourage parents to remobilize their children and send them to school. “Many children are now engaged in various activities and some might not want to go back to the classroom but it is the responsibility of parents to direct them back to school.” Added Lanyuy Harry
At the level of Secondary education, Mokom Comfort, sub director of general affairs says, a sector task force has been created to develop strategies that will promote effective back to school. The task force will follow up displaced teachers so they can return to work. They will also exploit both the social and traditional media creating posters and banners that promote back to school. She further revealed that 100 teachers were marked irregular and in the days ahead, the regional disciplinary board will suspend the salaries of 75 irregular teachers who have created comfort zones out of their divisions.
The vocational sector was not left out as Foo Ngang née Injoh Prodencia Awa, Regional delegate of employment and vocational training, revealed that the delegation will carry out sensitization campaigns to wipe out the fear factor that has taken the population hostage for years now. She also used the meeting as an opportunity to call on teachers still hanging around Mezam division to return to their job sites and make sure their schools are clean and ready for classes.
These resolutions paint a picture of how ready the various delegations are for the upcoming academic year, though many teachers had worries with some resolutions due to the level of insecurity in the region.
According to a teacher from Baba, the campaign should begin with those in the bushes. A recommendation Harry Lanyuy used to appeal to teachers to talk to those in the bushes so they can come back home. ”Teachers need to be part of the reintegration process. We have the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration centers (DDRC); let us help these children who are wasting in the bushes get back to the society.”
For teachers in the private sector, the government should assist them with subventions so they can motivate their teachers who have been home for months without Salaries. These teachers too need capacity workshops that can help them be up to date with the school calendar. Lessons and schools should be rehabilitated in time too. The lay private also pleaded with the administration to send some government teachers to help them out with teaching lessons as many teachers have relocated to other cities.
It was affirmed by all that guns should be kept away from schools irrespective of where the gun is coming from, to facilitate an effective school resumption.
Talking to the Maikemsdiary later that day, Governor Adophe LeLe L’Afrique reassured the population of the North West Region that security measures will be provided to enable smooth school resumption. He further appealed to children, parents, teachers and those in the diaspora to put in more efforts to make sure schools open in September. “Children have the right to education so we must all work together to give them that”.
It should be noted that not only the educational stakeholders have taken up the fight for school resumptions – members of the civil society, some media personalities and Mancho BIbixy have launched a back to school campaign via social media and traditional media which is gradually gaining grounds.
Maikem Emmanuela Manzie