Students of Lycée Bilingue de Deido (GBHS Deido) in Douala have expressed their fears with a digital process being carried out on them by school officials.
Coerced to take part in photoshoots, they say everything about the process, from attires to poses and the choice of students sounds fishy.
Talking to Brandon (real names changed for security reasons), a student of the institution, he says the authorities came to their institution with Chinese men who have been in charge of taking the photos.
“This week marked the second time we were called upon to snap pictures by Chinese people in my school. Students snap pictures in dark rooms, wearing all types of assorted things like grave caps, dirty eyeglasses, dirty caps, I wore a greve (wig) cap, a mask” he says.
“Last Thursday, there were no classes in Upper Sixth Arts because we spent the whole day taking these pictures,” Brandon goes on.
What baffles him more, he tells MMI, is the fact that students who are very fair in complexion were sent away without a reason and only those very dark-skin were photographed.
“The school authority has said nothing about it, and when we ask why they snap us, they say they don’t know,” he notes, adding that the Discipline Master who made the announcement is called Mr Angwasong.
“We don’t even ask questions… I was afraid to protest against it… Firstly Anglophones are disregarded, then what will become of me if I’m arrested for standing for my rights?” he asks.
“We are being forced and if we refuse, we are expelled from class… I refused last December and was constantly sent out of class so I gave in,” he says.
In addition to the force involved, he says “it’s only in Anglophone section… Students who try to question are being brutalized by the Discipline Master, Angwasong. Girls are the most affected. They are even forced to act porn scenes.”
After sharing the story with his mother, Brandon says she asked him to persevere and write his exams.
The story is confirmed by another student of the institution, Julius (name changed) who adds that they suspect the motives for the pictures and the shrine he says is inside their staff room.
Despite being uncomfortable, he says he was “asked to wear greve cap, glasses and sometimes compelled to kiss other students. We posed in large cartons that are taken out of the staffroom during the day”.
Last year, he goes on, “they decorated us with leaves to take the pictures. They did same thing this January saying the previous pictures were not properly registered into the system. They are not telling us details about it”.
With the first pictures taken in November 2019, Julius says in both instances, it was coordinated by some Chinese men.
“They started with the Anglophones; we were scared because most of us are IDPs. We have no voice here, we were afraid of being dismissed or jailed so we couldn’t speak out”. This Saturday however, he says, some francophones started coming.
To him, “the whole thing is fishy and the administration has not given us convincing answers”.
While teachers seem to remain in the dark about the happening, the students say the Discipline Masters are at the heart of it. “…The principal and the Discipline Master are aware. Some of our classmates asked the DM and he said it’s government’s orders. That it is for our security,” says Julius.
Contacted by Mimi Mefo Info, the Vice Principal of GBHS Deido said: “If you want any information about GBHS Deido, call the principal or come to school on Monday morning, please”.
Like Brandon, Julius says his parents asked him to focus on his examination, but keep an eye on the ongoing process.
Pictures: Mimi Mefo Info (C)