Institutions of learning went dead again yesterday across the Region.
In spite of the on-going dialogue engaged since the 27th December in Bamenda between Government and teachers’ syndicates to break the ghost school stalemate, schools failed to resume yesterday, 16 January in most of the South West Region. The strike action obliging pupils and students to stay away from schools embraced the second month, as schools remained empty and quiet as graveyards yesterday in most of the six Divisions of the South West Region.
In Buea the Regional capital, Government and private primary, secondary and Higher Institutions received neither teachers nor learners ready for classes. A few Francophone students in uniform were spotted at the BGS Molyko-Buea by 10 am but the campus soon became dry before mid day. In Limbe it was the same scenario as no classes were held in the key schools situated on the major road sides.
Cameroon Tribune made rounds in Limbe and Buea and observed no school taking effective classes. News from Lebialem Division spoke of ghost towns added to ghost schools in Menji. In Kumba, capital of Meme Division, the situation remained morose with no classes, no traffic, no market and no economic activities.
Anxiety wrapped in fear could, however, be read in the eyes of many youth who thronged the major road sides to observe what was going on since the early hours of yesterday. Will there be school again? What is happening in Bamenda with the dialogue commission? Comforting news reaching the anxious people speak of dialogue resumption tomorrow (Wednesday, 18 January).
The social media, hyperactive in the situation, is fanning another ghost town scenario today until dialogue resumes tomorrow. The pain, the grief and the frustrations are stirring everyone in the eyes. Many parents had paid fees for the year especially in boarding schools.
Will the year be a blank one? Will private school teachers be paid any salary? Yet, the school strike may gradually be extending to ghost cities and towns west of the Mungo. What next if not dialogue?