The past weeks have not been easy for stakeholders in Cameroon’s secondary education sector. From the Secondary Education Ministry to schools, staff and even students, a series of happenings have upset what used to be the relative order that obtained in institutions of learning.
These include the arrest of students for engaging in money rituals to the circulation of obscene images shot in classrooms.
The recent happenings bring to mind the call made by Secondary Education Minister, Prof. Nalova Lyonga to parents weeks back.
Speaking at the February session of the Youth Parliament, she said it was imperative for parents and school authorities to accompany her ministry in its ongoing efforts to put an end to the rising deviant behaviour in the school milieu.
“Work with us. If you have a community of people who want to work on a particular problem, please come to us. MINESEC is open. We have different departments which work on social problems. Come to us let us work together and try to articulate the problem,” Minister Nalova told the youth MPs.
Admitting that the crime wave characterized by among others, fights, drug consumption and allegations of witchcraft, were signs of rising deviant behaviour, she said they needed to be tamed and completely stopped.
“We have social problems we are looking into and a lot of this is taking our time away from academic problems. Academics is very much tied to social problems. If the student is not socially fine, the student will not be academically right. To curb this phenomenon, MINESEC has done a lot…” she explained.
Amongst measures cited to combat crimes in school, Minister Nalova said systematic checks at school entrances should be upheld to ensure only students and staff are permitted to enter institutions, as well as avoid the use of dangerous equipment.
The ministry, she added, “have also done installation of surveillance cameras in schools… So far, we have installed 200 and that is not even enough. We are just scratching the surface…”.
Many have however faulted both ministries of education for not doing enough, placing students as the only victims. In addition, instances of violence on teachers witnessed last year have been pointed at, including an incident that left a teacher dead.
The ministry, others opine, fails to see students as protagonists too, making it miss the mark in some cases, a move they say is also partly responsible for the resurgence of obscene behaviour in schools.
Minister Nalova it should be recalled, had in addressing the youth MPs, blamed girls for being molested sexually in schools, paying little attention to the perpetrators.
“Instead of girls fearing for their lives, they are going to those places that are risky. Four boys raped one girl, what was she doing with four boys? Is that her safety? Is she safe amongst four boys? I will say no” said the minister.
“When we were growing up, we knew that you should not be amongst boys because it was risky. We were so afraid of pregnancy that you didn’t want anybody to touch you. But today, what is it? Are girls afraid of anything? No. They are not!”
President Biya, the minister said, “… is not wasting this money for nothing. We must save our schools…”.
“This violence,” she added, “will only increase. It will not stop until we increase our actions. People have to accept that we need to be hard. We have to be hard. We must accept it and parents must accept that they have to be hard”.
With deviant behaviour appearing to once more be on the increase, pundits say the ministry should either live up to its standards and set the pace for sanity, or change its strategy.
Mimi Mefo Info