By Ndikum Gerald, Sunday, June 11, 2017
Cameroon Journal, Bamenda – The written part of the General Certificate of Education (GCE) examinations are due to begin tomorrow June 12 according to an announcement on state-owned CRTV. The examinations are being written amid a lot of controversy, the greatest being the fact that students have been out of classrooms since November 21 2016, following a strike action by Anglophone teachers in the two English-speaking regions.
Secondary Education Minister while on a trip to Bamenda on May 10 to “assess the level of preparedness” for the exams, sent shockwaves across the nation when he austerely told GCE Board Registrar Humprey Ekema Monono to create “special centers” to accommodate unregistered candidates so that they can take the GCE exam. The Cameroon populace, especially those of English expression are yet to fathom this action which many see as a desecration of their noble exam.
Tomorrow’s examinations are being written (if they will be written) amid lots of fear and uncertainty, given that unidentified persons have made it a sworn duty to butcher those daring to write the exams. This was the case on June 5th where some students of GBHS Bamenda were attacked with machetes by unarmed persons, leaving the students with severe injuries that forced them to undergo surgery. There was (and still is)a lot of fear as the public now questions the security which authorities have pledged to provide, with some asking how a school as GBHS Bamenda under such heavy military guard could be attacked if in fact this is not a scheme by the very people claiming to be protecting the children.
Meanwhile, Tapang Ivo and Mark Bareta, two Southern Cameroons activists known for their passion for the Anglophone struggle have in posts on Facebook suggested that Yaoundé has been behind the arson and wanton brutality on students in the Northwest and Southwest Regions within the past 7 months.
The GCE Ordinary and Advanced Level examinations are some of the most decisive examinations for Cameroonians of English expression because most students never go beyond their O’ or A’Levels and so for government authorities
and their supporters to compel students to forcefully write an exam like this which will affect their very lives, without having been taught, is to destroy the future of those children to say the least.
In spite of calls by the Prime Minister, various CPDM diehards and Ministers for schools to effectively resume, the calls have fallen on heedless ears and parents across both regions have kept their children home. Authorities in Yaoundé are now pointing accusing fingers at church leaders, and lambasting a youthful generation for using social media and labeling those who boycotted 20th May celebrations to stand with those they arrested, as “enemies of the state”.
In an interview on CRTV on January 21st, 2017, Paul Ombiono, a university lecturer and philosopher had stated that should UNESCO declare a blank academic year, it will not affect only schools in the Southern Cameroons, but equally those in French Cameroon. Some have said this is the reason why gov’t is doing everything to see to it that the GCE is written at all cost.
It remains to be seen how tomorrow’s GCE will be written, given that all parents who spoke to the Cameroon Journal vowed to keep their kids home for as long as the stalemate persists. “Why should my daughter go to school when our church leader is standing trial for simply asking government to look for eternal solutions to this crisis?” an embittered parent asked rhetorically.