Schools officially resumed across Cameroon this Monday, but for citizens in the restive North West and South West Regions, the situation seems to have become more complicated.
While school boycott has been the favoured policy of all Separatist groups since 2017, there has been a paradigm shift this year.
As more separatist activists have joined the ranks and files of those advocating the creation of ‘safe zones’ to allow children to go to school, parents and school children have been left in with a dilemma.
While the government of Cameroon has done little to ensure that children are protected when they return to school in the war-torn areas, they have been keen to insist that parents send their children.
The separatists on the other hand have been divided on what the policy should be.
According to a faction of Ambazonia leaders, the security of children cannot be guaranteed and as such, school resumption is out of the question. This school of thought go further to argue that they intend to create a much better educational system for children to return to when they achieve their independence.
The faction of separatists advocating school resumption have joined the long list of prominent actors such as Human Rights Barrister Agbor Nkongho Felix and incarcerated activist and journalist, Mancho Bibixy, who over the years have insisted that school boycott harms only the poorest of society.
As the uncertainty intensifies, parents with the financial means are already sending their children to school in the Francophone regions, while those who cannot afford it, either take the risk and send their children to school or keep them at home.
In the most remote areas, the imposition of school boycott has been more stringent, meaning that many children have been out of school for over four years and counting.
With independence still a pipe dream and with the intransigence of the Cameroon government with regards to seeking long-lasting solutions to the ongoing conflict, it appears as though for many children and their families, the future and the safe educational prospects remain bleak at best.