North West: Teachers’ trade unions reveal pathetic school attendance figures
The number of students and pupils attending school in the North West region of Cameroon has witnessed a significant drop since 2017 when the anglophone crisis started.
Going by statistics from members of teachers’ trade unions meeting in Bamenda, seventy out of five hundred and fifty-six colleges were operational for the 2019/2020 school year.
Out of a little over two hundred and twenty thousand students that were attending school before the crisis, just thirty thousand attended school.
The teachers explain that about 30.000 students from the North West attended school out of the region. From this, over 160.000 students could not be accounted for.
At the primary level, teachers stated that less than 4000 pupils wrote the First School Leaving Certificate examination in the North West region. A figure was far inferior to the 40.000 candidates that used to write the exam before the start of the crisis.
According to Sema Valentine, Secretary-General of the Cameroon Teachers’ Trade Union (CATTU), there is the need for pupils and students to return to school no matter what has happened in the past three years.
“We will have students in the class that has killed, those that have seen their relatives killed, those that have taken drugs, those that have been into prostitution, those that have been displaced, and a lot more. These students need to be taken care of psychologically to permit them to restart studies,” Semma said.
Ngwang Roland, a pedagogue, and teacher add that “…we wish to see students in school. Before becoming teachers, we are parents. While the government is resolving the problems, let all kids go back to school.”
Members of the Cameroon Teachers Trade Union (CATTU), Cameroon Education for all Networks, and other teachers’ trade unions have joined the nationwide campaign for effective school resumption in the anglophone regions of Cameroon.
The members entered day two of a workshop today Friday, October 9, 2020, in Bamenda. They are planning effective sensitization for back to school and equally intend to visit schools’ worst hit to encourage teachers and students.
The teachers equally called on separatist fighters and the military to respect teachers, students, parents, and people in the community that has nothing to do with the physical war.
Note that the crisis started when teachers of anglophone expression joined the protest called by lawyers in 2016. The teachers were standing against the actions of the government of Cameroon to destroy the English sub-system of education.
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