Another school year has started and unfortunately the old demons of confusion are equally present. Pupils and students across the national territory will as from today 2 September 2019 meet their mates afters over three months of holidays during which they had time to commune with their parents, siblings, and friends. Some might have even taken off the time to learn a trade or something else that can be useful to them as they journey along the uncertain road to success.
Sadly, this is proving difficult for some especially in the South West and North West Regions because of separatist calls for school boycott. In the past years the issue was most damaging in the Far North due to the Boko Haram activities incursions. Today, the situation in the two Anglophone regions is even more pathetic. While the disruption of schools in both localities by the strike actions of lawyers and teachers which started in 2016 degenerated into a political and eventually armed conflict, the youth have been treacherously caught in the mayhem and their disapproval of the situation has been evident in the massive exodus witnessed among school going children within this back-to-school period. After staying home for three years, most of the youth have realised that their future lies in education and are leaving the troubled zones to seek a safe haven in other parts of the country.
Yet, these are those who can make it by looking elsewhere for a solution. What of those from poor homes or those who lack the possibility to go to other towns. Their plight must also be a cause for concern. That explains why the government, the civil society and some political leaders have been unable to stay indifferent again. By actively joining the campaign for schools to open their doors throughout the country, the message is strong enough. Notably that, the future of young Cameroonians wherever they are cannot be sacrificed on the altar of any claim. The education of children is not a matter of choice or a commodity that someone can decide either to buy or not. Even more, the country has the obligation to ensure that the youth who are the future are able to acquire the right education. Even those who brandish the separatist ideology know fully well that the right to education is inalienable in any society. Consequently, Cameroon cannot be any exception.
Going through history, some of the best minds known for generations have unequivocally lauded the merit of education. Malcolm X, a well known civil rights activist said at the time that; “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today”; while Albert Einstein argues that, “Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.” The examples are uncountable but it is curious to realise that in the 21st Century people should still think that it is possible to gamble with the education of children.
No matter the differences that people may have and irrespective of race, creed and gender, the one and only thing that can make it possible for people to stand out as equals from different walks of life remains education. This is because through education, it easy to have an understanding of the world and be able to use the knowledge acquired in a wise manner. With such reasoning, it becomes difficult to explain to anybody that the best way out of any difficulty should be to stop children from going to school.
Be it in the Far North with the Boko Haram insurgencies that keep resurfacing, the restive North West and South West Regions where life must be made comfortable for citizens or in the East Region where rebel from the Central African Republic have exerted pressure on the population, the desire for education to be effective throughout the country as from today, has been demonstrated first by the kids themselves and that has to be taken into consideration because it is their right to go to school.