By Tapuka Gerald, May 16, 2017
Cameroon Journal, Kumba – The General Certificate of Education Examinations (GCE 2017) was officially launched today Monday May 15, with practical sessions in Computer Sciences and Food Sciences. Even though widely reported within Cameroon government circles as “hitch free start,” the reality on the ground in the Southwest and Northwest Regions proved the very contrary.
It was a comedy show in the South West region where students were only expected to write in Divisional headquarters and urban centres where the state’s authority is still being felt. Starting on Monday, a day that is usually observed as “ghost town” in Anglophone Cameroon, movement of students was severely curtailed as streets in some of these towns appeared deserted Monday morning.
In Kumba, the main center for most candidates in Meme division was at the Cameroon College of Arts and Sciences (CCAS) Kumba where security was particularly reinforced with heavily armed men spotted in and around the school. Some teachers who invigilated this Monday lamented of the very poor quality of the GCE exams. To them, what the students are writing is not GCE but child’s play. “Many students did not even know their centers and because of this, majority came very late. But we still have to admit them following the Minister’s instructions,” teachers told the Cameroon Journal. “It was a fiasco,” another teacher lamented, adding that, “you cannot imagine that many students did not turn up and as low as 2 students represented some schools in Kumba and they were writing at gunpoint with security officers everywhere.”
Even in Buea, the seat of the GCE Board, the situation was no different. Students showed up at the Bokwango and Molyko Centres in assorted dresses. Some who didn’t register for the exams came too and were allowed to write. “It is the most confused GCE exams I have ever seen and I couldn’t bare it but go back home; it’s nonsense,” one teacher told our reporter.
In the famous Eyumojock where state officials have encountered some of the fiercest resistance since the Anglophone crisis started, the Cameroon Journal was informed that, like in other Divisions, most of the students are writing in Mamfe, Manyu divisional headquarter. The Cameroon Journal gathered that while the
regional mock was going on in some selected schools in places like Buea and Kumba, those of Eyumojock, simply went to school and collected the papers, returned to their homes and answered the questions like in homework.
In Lebialem division where many students did not even bother to register for the exams there was lots of confusion. Those who registered did not know their centers. In Limbe, two centers were hurriedly arranged (GHS and GBHS Limbe) after it emerged that only few students registered for the exams. These two schools are in close proximity and it was decided that both host the exercise so as to facilitate security.
Many boarding school students were absent because of change of centers at the last minute and majority did not know their new centers. Some parents told The Cameroon Journal that they cannot allow their children into the streets for fear of their safety. Some of the students who actually went in for the exam exercise told the CJ that they doubt whether they will actually make it at the exams considering the present situation and inability to attend classes.
This is the first time the GCE Board that organizes GCE exams in Cameroon cannot ascertain the number of students writing the exams. Students who did not register are being admitted into writing centers.
In Bamenda, Northwest Regional capital, it is still very unclear as to whether the practical exams took place anywhere in the city. Bamenda and Kumbo had been chosen by Gov’t authorities to host the exams. But while the exams where about starting in Bamenda, activists took to some of the centers and set them ablaze. That was the fate of GBPS Atuakom and PSS Mankon. We will bring details later.