By Pang Joseph, April 1, 2017
Cameroon Journal, Buea – The 2017 session of the General Certificate Examination (GCE) has witnessed a drastic reduction in the number of potential candidates to sit for the exams. The GCE Board, in a recent communiqué declared that just 104,000 candidates have registered for all examinations it would be organizing this year. Broken down, only 63,681 candidates have registered from the North West and South West combined, while 40,663 comes from the 8 francophone regions.
In spite of the poor registration numbers, in another desperate attempt to ensure that the exams hold this year, the Board has again shifted registration deadline to April 15. However, this special preference as the Board says would involve registration only in Bamenda in the North West and Buea in the South West. This means that candidates would have to travel to Bamenda or Buea to get themselves registered.
The communiqué also carries the new date for practicals and writing sessions of the 2017 examinations. Practicals would run from Monday, May 15 to Wednesday, June 7, in all the GCE accommodation centers while the writen part would start on Monday, June 12.
The GCE Board expressed its frustrations in the organization of this year’s exams as most heads of centers have not yet sent in the registration documents. This is especially so in the North West where majority of the schools are yet to send their registration forms to the Board. While in the eight Francophone regions, more than 40 centers are yet to send in their registration forms too.
In a previous communiqué signed by Secondary Education Minister in December 2016, practical sessions were to start on April 24, while written sessions were to begin on May 22.
In the 2016 session of the exams, the Board registered about 172,000 candidates. It would be difficult for the Board to actually organized exams this year as majority of the students who are to write are out of classes. It is even worst in rural and semi urban areas where schools have virtually been sealed. With the increase in arson attacks, it would also be also a huge challenge for the GCE Board to even safeguard the writing materials.
Last week, some practical materials of GBHS Maroua reportedly caught fire when some classes and offices belonging to the school were burnt down. Moreover, even the few students clandestinely going to school are working under immense pressure and difficult conditions with threats in the midst of too many catch-up classes.