By Randy Pivaga, Monday, May 7, 2017
Cameroon Journal, Bamenda – Secondary Education Minister, Ernest Masena Bibehe, Peter Abety and Humphrey Monono of the GCE Board are all out for last minutes campaign to see this year’s GCE exams hold despite the fact that schools in English speaking Cameroon have largely remained shut down for the entire school season.
The minister is due to begin a back-to-school campaign of sorts beginning today, Monday May 8, through Thursday the 11th in the Northwest and Southwest Regions, national radio, CRTV announced. The Minister’s trip will be used to assess the level of preparedness of some private and public schools which he said will be working with government to host students writing the General Certificate of Education, GCE, examinations.
While in the regions, Masena is expected to hold meetings with administrative authorities and local officials of the Ministry of Secondary Education.
Meanwhile, Peter Abety, the GCE Board Chairman, is saying that some proprietors of private schools have accepted to open their doors to candidates to sit for the 2017 session of the GCE exams. Abety made the remark at an in-camera meeting that held in Buea over the weekend.
“We are very happy to inform the public that schools run by Catholics, Protestants (Baptists and Presbyterians) and Moslems, have assured us that they are preparing to call back their candidates to their institutions to write their exams in their centers” Abety said. He, however, didn’t say where and when the said confessional schools said they were asking their candidates to come sit for the GCE, nor did he specify when they will be coming for the exam – an exam which they have not prepared for in the better part of the shaky academic year that has seen students stayed home for six months and counting.
Following Abety, the GCE Board Registrar, Humphrey Ekema Monono speaking to reporters, announced that “Practical examinations will begin on the 15th of May and the written phase begins on the 12th of June…”
Monono stated that timetables for the exams are at the students’ examination centers and should be consulted as soon as possible. He didn’t however, mention the names of such centers. He added that afternoon papers will begin
from 1:00PM instead of 2:00PM so as to allow students to band together to get home early enough for fear of possibly getting hurt, though he didn’t say by whom.
Sitting for the GCE is going to be a very trying moment for both the gov’t of Cameroon and the Southern Cameroons independence movements. Any successful sitting for the exams will give gov’t boosting rights to proclaim the school
year a success. On the other hand, a successful sabotage of the same will give the bragging rights to Southern Cameroonian activists who have used the shutdown of schools throughout the school season to bring the gov’t to its knees.
The last time a gov’t official came knocking doors in the two regions to have schools resume was in March – by Philemon Yang, the Prime Minister. The PM was collectively told by parents as conditions for the resumption of schools, the withdrawal of troops from the streets of the two regions and the unconditional release of all political detainees.
Secondary Education Minister, Masena, is embarking on the same trip again without any of the conditions fulfilled. Those detained have been to court on three occasions without getting even a bail. They are to appear again before the Yaoundé Military Tribunal on May 27th, just a week after the GCE exams take off (if they take off) as most parents have vowed to keep their children home until they see signs of readiness on the part of government to meet the public’s demands.
News of the forceful writing of the GCE has enraged lots of people across both Regions. They see the regime as wanting to protect its interest while masking behind the love for children’ education and their academic future.
“I am very unhappy with the GCE Board’s decision to work with the regime to insist that our children should sit for
an exam which they have practically not prepared for. How are children supposed to write exams in one week when they were out of school for near 100 percent of the school year?” an embittered parent asked The Cameroon Journal.
“For me, I have kept all my children at home. I have one in primary, two at O’Level, and one at A’Level. Their fees altogether cost me like 200.000 FRS excluding books and other expenses. But I am not angry that the year has been wasted. I am rather angry that the powers that be have no consideration for my kids’ future…” Victorine, a single mother in a suburb of Bamenda told The Cameroon Journal.
These views, epitomize the many who are ready to keep their children at home for as long as the stalemate persists.