There has been a public uproar in Cameroon’s education sector in response to the allocation of a substantial 539 billion CFA to the Ministry of Secondary Education. The information was recently disclosed in the country’s national budget.
The announcement comes amid a protracted crisis in the education sector, which has seen teachers go on strike for months over poor working conditions, unpaid salaries, and a lack of funding.
Teachers and concerned citizens are questioning the government’s priorities, arguing that the funds should be redirected to address pressing issues in the education system, including improving teacher salaries, providing adequate learning materials, and addressing infrastructural deficiencies in schools.
“This allocation is a slap in the face to all of us fighting for a better education system,” declared Fonyuy James, a teacher at Government High School Bonaberi. “While teachers struggle with meagre salaries and students learn in dilapidated classrooms, the government prioritizes extravagant spending on administrative overhead and opaque projects,” James added.
Critics emphasize the lack of transparency and accountability in the budget allocation, demanding a detailed breakdown of fund utilization. They urge the government to involve stakeholders, including teachers, in planning and implementing education initiatives.
The government defends the allocation, asserting that it represents a substantial investment in secondary education. Officials claim the funds will enhance infrastructure, provide equipment and learning materials, and improve teacher training programs. They insist the allocation aligns with a long-term vision to strengthen the education system and equip students with future-ready skills.
Since 2022, teachers, under the OTS movement, have been on a continuous strike, demanding change in their situation. Minister Nalova Lyonga has been in conflict with them, even threatening sanctions.
Amidst their persistent calls, many teachers hope for improved salaries, given the weight of the 2024 budget allocated to the department.
As the situation unfolds, it remains to be seen whether the government will respond to public pressure and adjust its budget allocation to prioritize immediate education needs. One certainty is that the controversy surrounding the 539 billion CFA allocation has brought the challenges facing Cameroonian education into sharp focus, demanding transparent actions for a brighter future for the nation’s youth.