Broken chairs and benches, bushy school environment and very few or no pupils and students are the general characteristics of most schools in the English speaking regions of Cameroon. The immediate cause, teaching staff say, is insecurity as a result of the crisis rocking the two English speaking regions.
The crisis started as a strike action by teachers and lawyers in late 2016.
At the begining many including cabinet ministers mocked at the grievances tabled by the teachers and the legal minds.
Three years down the line, these strike actions have escalated into an armed conflict with the teachers hardest hit.
“I lost my teaching job because of the crisis” a teacher who prefers to be called Delphine says. “We teachers face a lot of difficulties. The impact is visible on my children. When I see them idling around I weep” she adds.
The delegation of Secondary Education in the North West says, atleast 59,983 students did not attend school during the 2018/2019 school year in the entire Region.
Ninety Seven teachers in the secondary education sector were directly affected by way of murder, abduction, attacks and destruction of private property. The situation is similar if not worst in the Basic Education sector.
“The separatist fighters forced us to leave the school. Those of us who insisted on teaching recieved treats, some kidnapped and ransom paid. I had to run with my family. We have been in Bamenda for over a year now. We survive on humanitarian aid from non governmental organisations” Delphine says.
The crisis has separated families. Life is no longer same.
“I have had a big loss due to the crisis.” In tears Delphine narrates how she lost her husband. “On July 10th, 2019 I recieved a call that my husband was being beaten up at the veterinary Junction in Bamenda by soldiers. I thought he would be detained at one the detention centers in town. I searched and only found his body at the Bamenda regional hospital mortuary”
While in Bamenda, Delphine bakes peanuts and hawks with her two children to make ends meet. They are just one out of the many families displaced by the crisis.
She opines that the 2019, international teacher’s day is not worth celebrating in the crisis hit North West Region.
She hopes that the out come of the crisis helps her return to her community.
Like most of her colleagues in the crisis-hit regions, Delphine could not celebrate teacher’s day due to insecurity that caused even the venue for the celebrations in Bamenda to be changed.
These days in Bamenda hardly will a day go through without gun shots reported in neibourhoods.
The 2019 teacher’s day commemorative activities took place at an ‘unusual’ venue. The fear of what may happen was the cause of the change from the usual commercial avenue grandstand, down town Bamenda to the premises of the regional delegation of secondary up station Bamenda.
The less than an hour event was chaired by the Inspector General at the office of the North West Gorvernor.
These ones were celebrating without eight of their colleagues murdered in the course of the last academic year.
They used the ceremony to appeal for a more conducive teaching and learning environment across the regions hit by the socio-political crisis.
The authorities on their part say the teachers should have faith in the profession. They have also asked them to think, talk and act peace.
A hand full of teachers primarily from the public sector and some regional delegations graced the march past session of the event that took place under tight security.
Mimi Mefo Info