One week into the new school year, parents in Mutengene, South West region of Cameroon say some school authorities are not being fair.
Citing a government school in the town, a parent says the decision to have only 50 students per class due to the COVID-19 pandemic is making authorities exploit them for personal gains.
“The principal introduced a new system where new students get to pay 25000fcfa extra to the school fees. He says the money is aimed at buying new benches to accommodate the new students,” a parent explained.
However, he said, “… no new benches are being made by the school as up to seven students get to sit on a single bench with more than 50 of them in a single class. The only new benches you see at the end of the school year are those donated by the BIR and other organizations.”
“To take this game a step further,” he added, “the principal refuses to take in form 5 students who failed the General Certificate of Education exam, and give students promoted to other classes just two weeks to complete their fees or else risk expulsion.”
To the parent, the principal says this is in a bid to create space for more new students, but the goal is to get more parents willing to pay the notorious “money for bench”.
In a similar instance, the National Anti-Corruption Commission, CONAC announced it had received at least 500 complaints of corrupt practices in schools barely a week into the new school year.