South West: Generalised Mobilisation For Classes To Resume

Across the six administrative Divisions of the Region, the call is in favour of education.

As school bells ring across the South West Region, the various education stakeholders are aware of the various roles expected of each actor to enable school going. Education actors have put hands on the plough to fight the classroom drought witnessed in Anglophone Cameroon since 21 November, 2016.

To overturn the tables and assure that this year does not resemble the previous one in ghost schools, Governor Bernard Okalia Bilai set the tone early August with a school resumption inaugural campaign meeting held in his office with all six Senior Divisional Officers of the South West Region in attendance. Administrators, politicians, educationists, traditional rulers, religious, parents, pupils and students were sensitised on sectorial and individual roles to play. From thence kicked off a generalised mobilisation in the South West for school reopening this 2017-18.

In Lebialem Division, the new Senior Divisional Officer, Ungitoh Zachary Cheikoh, initiated a multi-sector meeting leading to the resolutions by Mayors of Fontem, Alou and Wabane agreeing to intensify clearing of grass-invaded schools. They also decided to provide minimum school packages by 30 August, 2017. Traditional rulers of the area consented to use gongs and messengers to call for school return, educate parents to accompany their children to school within the first week of resumption and report any case of disturbance to the Administration. Political party representatives of SDF and PAP in Lebialem called for the release of detained personalities in Yaoundé. The CPDM resolved to use party forums to sensitise on school resumption. They nevertheless sued for meaningful dialogue to end the Anglophone crisis. The religious circles vouched to intensify prayers and use their pulpits to drum school reopening come 4 September.

In Indian Division, Mbokaya Ashu, Senior Divisional Officer, summoned a come-together urging parents to shun fear and mobilise for school return. The Administrator involved the elite to mobilise for school reopening on 4 September explaining the importance of education for young people.

In Manyu Division, politicians multiplied calls for school return in churches, markets and party meetings. Under Minister Mengot Arrey Nkongho, the people of Manyu were rallied in the Mamfe Town-hall on 26 August to spread the message of school return.

In Kupe Muanenguba, the elite from Yaounde including Ministers Elung Paul Che and Ngole Ngwese Philip combed through Tombel and Bangem to mobilise for school resumption on 4 September. In Tombel the youth remarkably thronged the streets defying calls for boycott and reminding parents and authorities that they need education for their own future.

In Meme Division, the Senior Divisional Officer, Ntou’ou Ndong strategised with parents and the elite to ensure that schools resume on 4 September and respect the official calendar. He even organised a football competition as a means to sensitise the youth on the need to go to school.

In Fako Division, Honorable Etombi Gladys of the Fako East Constituency has toured Muyuka, Bimbia, Mukundange and Limbe Central on 28 August to distribute books for pupils to resume classes next Monday. Observers acclaimed her’s as a practical approach to encourage school resumption because the markets and shops are not yet exposing school needs for purchasing.

On his part, Senior Divisional Officer, Engamba Emmanuel Ledoux, convened a meeting of education stakeholders last week to invoke school return. Speaker after speaker proposed actions to undertake to include that parents should accompany their children to school. Importantly, traditional rulers were urged to organise vigilante groups in the various villages to weed out ghost school protagonists. During the meeting, a popular personality, Senator Mbella Moki, called for vigilance and rational occupation of the vandal-space between schools and homes where school goers are threatened. Meanwhile the Buea Council has organised a month-long holiday classes to level-up students for school this time.

A Divisional Delegate, mother and teacher by profession, Mrs Martina Tambe, questioned why some Anglophone parents are now taking their children to francophone Regions and coming back to enforce ghost schools in South West and North West. She argued that if it is a question of culture then which culture are they now inculcating in their children? To speak the least, all cameras and radars from far and near seem focused on Anglophone Cameroon to see who would throw the first stone against school going this time.

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