The start of academic year 2019/2020 has been in double phases Monday September 2nd 2019. While the French speaking part of Cameroon witnessed effective back to school, it remained timid in the North West and South regions of Cameroon marked by severe arm conflict. The restive regions have school boycott for three years since the Anglophone crisis escalated in 2016.
On the first day of school today, most schools in the town of Nkambe Donga Mantung division in the North West region of Cameroon opened their doors. Pupils and students braved threats from ambazonia fighters and resumed classes under very tight security. The senior divisional officer of Donga Mantung Division while inspecting government bilingual high school Nkambe mentioned that the division is an island of peace evident on the massive turnout of students for the 2019/2020 school year.
There was equally timid school resumption in Misaje; chief town of Misaje sub division still in Donga Mantung division. The situation was completely different in Ako, Nwa and Ndu sub divisions. Lockdown was heavily respected in these sub divisions with no student or pupil spotted on the street or campus. Inhabitants in the area, say besides the absence of students, all the teacher are seeking refuge elsewhere as they are constantly under threat by separatist fighters.
In Kumbo in Bui division and Bamenda in Mezam division, it was a similar situation of deserted schools and streets. Inhabitants say they spotted military helicopters flying towards Donga Mantung division while Kumbo, Jakiri, Noni, Mbiame and other villages remained calm and deserted.
In Bamenda Capital of the North West region, Government Bilingual high school Bamendakwe situated at Up Station opened its doors with a few other public schools in the town. Despite this the turned was very low. In some schools, just one or two students were present. In schools that opened their doors in Bamenda, teachers refused to talk to the press for fear of attack by separatist fighters. Government put attendance percentage at 10.
Momo Division still in the North West region of Cameroon, it was a zero back to school with the towns of Mbengwi, Ngi and Njikwa deserted with no student seen. Inhabitants say three military armored cars drove to the town.
In Buea, South West region of Cameroon, the Mayor, Ekema Patrick Esunge angered by the lockdown in in the town vandalized some shops and sealed some business centres. Most Schools remained close in the town of Buea, but for few where turn out was timid.
In Kumba Meme Division still in the South West of Cameroon, the senior divisional officer disappointed with the turn out for school resumption promised administrative sanctions on teachers who have not resumed work. Charmberlain Ntou Ndong visited schools like Government Bilingual High School Mabanda where he met just 61 students, the Cameroon College of Arts and Science CCAS Kumba where he met an empty campus and other schools with discouraging turnout. The SDO however mentioned that the number of teachers will continue to increase by the day. Students who started school in Kumba were in assorted dresses to avoid targeted attacks by armed men.
Away from with a discouraging start of the school year in the English speaking part of Cameroon, it was a success story in the rest of the eight regions of Cameroon.
In Douala, the governor has promised outright dismissal of students that will be found guilty of consuming drugs and exercising violence in any form.
Governor Samuel Dieudonne Ivaha Diboa made the statement at government bilingual High School Deido while launching the school year in the Littoral region. Given the unfortunate incident of a student stabbing another to dead in the school last academic year, the governor has called on all businesses situated around the school to quit to avoid bad influence on students.
The government of Cameroon, it should be noted has launched a back to school campaign promising to ensure the security of all pupils and students in the national territory most especially those in the restive North West and South West regions.
Only time will tell if the campaign yielded fruits.
Mimi Mefo Info