By Mua Patrick, March 2, 2017
Cameroon Journal, Yaoundé -The Registrar of the Cameroon General Certificate of Education, GCE Board, Humphrey Ekema Monono, has said that so far, over 70.000 candidates have registered nationwide to sit for the 2017 session of examinations organised by the Board. However, he won’t state clearly how of the 70.000 registered in the two English-speaking Regions that have witnessed an interruption of classes since November of last year.
The Registrar’s media outing Tuesday February 28 comes amidst rising fears that this year’s GCE exams will not be conducted as the ongoing crisis plaguing the education sector persists in the North West and South West Regions.
Contacted Tuesday to brief The Cameroon Journal on the level of preparation and the number of candidates that have so far registered for the exams in the Anglophone Regions, Monono declined to respond, stating simply that the exams will take place nationwide as planned. He reminded The Cameroon Journal that the GCE exam is a national issue and not a preserve for Anglophones resident in the two English-speaking Regions. He was quick to add that the statistics of candidates that have registered in the North west and South West affected by the teachers strike action that began on November 21, 2016, is of less importance at the moment.
Earlier in an interview granted state radio, CRTV, Monono had said, although appeals for the extension of the deadline have been forwarded to the hierarchy for consideration, registration will not be extended indefinitely as the Board needs time to prepare for the other processes of different examinations.
The deadline for students to register for the 2017 session of the GCE examinations across the country, it should be said, ended Monday, Feb. 27. There are slim possibilities of an extension.
Monono said during the interview Tuesday that if not for the crisis in the North West and South West Regions, registration would have long been over on December 27, 2016.
“We can’t keep extending the deadline at infinitum. We’ve got to prepare for the examinations. However, the powers that be are getting those appeals and I am sure they will give us the necessary orientation and directives to follow.” He said.
With regards to efforts aimed at ensuring a successful organisation of the exams, the GCE Board boss announced that government has taken the necessary and appropriate measures to ensure that the examinations are conducted hitch free.
Answering a question on the general belief that time has passed for the exams merit legitimacy and be conducted successfully, Monono said “it will be premature to make such statements.”
“Let me add my voice to that of the UNESCO representative and that of the Minister of Secondary Education, that the examinations will be conducted as has been the tradition and that they will be no blank year. That therefore means that administration will do everything to ensure that those candidates that have registered, write their examinations.”
The number of candidates reported by the Board to have registered for the 2017 session of the GCE should be noted, is about three times less than the number recorded in 2016. The decline is, however, understandable given that schools in most parts of Anglophone Cameroon have remained closed since teachers began their indefinite industrial action in 2016.
The registration exercise has been extended at least trice, yet the exercise has remained timid thus raising fears that the exams may not be written in the two Regions.
In 2016, Some 182,416 candidates registered countrywide for the various examinations organised by the GCE Board. That number witnessed a sharp increase from 168,000 in 2015. Out of the number, over 138,000 in 2016 registered for the GCE Ordinary Level, while some 46,000 candidates sat for the GCE Advanced Level.