After seven months of no school in Cameroon, the government is determined to reopen school amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
To do this without risking the lives of teachers, pupils, students and the entire community, government has taken a measure to limit the number of students per class to fifty.
This means that each class should not have more than fifty students or pupils to reduce risk of COVID-19 spreading.
The decision is received with mixed feelings by teachers, students and even parents.
According Tatah Patrick, a secondary school teacher, the measure will give more work to teachers for the same meager salary.
“Following the time table I have received from the administration of my school, students of form four to upper sixth will go to school from 7:30am to 12:30 pm while form one to three will study from 1:00pm to 4:00pm.This means that some teachers will at one moment have to teach in the morning and afternoon sessions. This is difficult for a teacher that is receiving the same meager salary as before.”
Teachers are equally bothered that syllabuses might not be covered given that studies have been reduced to fewer hours.
To Salamatou Amina, the two shift system will render kids lazy to learn.The parent is bordered about that “…children will spend at most four hours a day in school for the same fees paid.This means that what they are going to learn will equally be limited”.
To some parents, government is adopting a two shift system to avoid the process of constructing new classrooms that can host all students at the same time.
As teachers and parents are a little bothered about the new system to be implemented by most schools in Cameroon for the 2020/2021 school year, some students see no harm in the measure taken by the government.
To Joyce Kima, an upper sixth student at government bilingual high school New Bell in Douala, “The prime objective is to keep students free from being contaminated with the dreaded coronavirus. It’s left to students to respect the shift that will be given by each school plus other measures like washing of hands with soap, use of face masks and hand sanitizers as well as respecting physical distancing.
According to secondary school officials, two-shift classes will only be implemented in schools where there is high population with few classrooms. This means that in rural areas and schools where students can conveniently study not up to 50 in class can run the normal one shift system.
Earlier, Cameroon’s minister of secondary education, Pauline Egbe Nalova Lyonga had warned that reducing the number of students per class to contain the spread of COVID-19 should not create an avenue for corrupt school officials to extort morning from parents wishing to register their kids in schools.