Government has unveiled a new academic timetable intended to help students and teachers in the English-speaking North West and South West regions recover time lost in months of protests against a perceived marginalisation of the regions
The outlawed Anglophone Civil Society Consortium which is championing the protests, have responded to the publication of the new timetable, by intensifying calls for boycott of schools and festive days in the regions.
Jean Ernest Maxime Ngalle Behene, Minister of Secondary Education signed a communique on Friday March 3, announcing some of the measures taken to enable the English-speaking regions meet the 2016/2017 pedagogic planning. These included the increase of 17hours of teaching per week in the Anglophone sections from Monday March 6 to May 13.
In the communique that is copied the prime minister’s office, the GCE board, Baccalaureate board among others, the minister outlines the schedule. It says teachers would have to teach two extra hours every day of the week, except Wednesdays on which they would have to teach three extra hours.
Students in the Anglo-Saxon subsystem of education in the English-speaking regions will not have Easter holiday this year. Students who are not in examination classes will attend classes only for one week during the Easter holiday which, according to the minister’s decision, will run from March 31 to April 17. The deadline for registration for the GCE has also been extended once again; this time around to March 20.
Philemon Yang, Prime Minister and head of government will tour all the seven divisions of the North West region next week. This, it is reported, is another move to thwart the ongoing strike and get schools operational. The PM is allegedly planning to meet with teachers, parents and local authorities in the divisions.
Consortium sending 800,000 boycott SMS daily
Since the publication of the minister’s announcement of measures to save the school year, the proscribed Anglophone Civil Society Consortium has multiplies calls for boycott of classes, respect of its call for ghost towns to be observed every Monday. They are also calling on the boycott of women’s day celebration.
The consortium leaders have since Friday, been struggling to provide reasons why schools in the North West and South West region should remain close. In numerous the Consortium claims government has not fulfilled promises to resolve the problems which caused teachers and lawyers to paralyze schools and courts in the English-speaking regions.
The consortium leaders are in an intensified campaign that appeals to the consciences of Anglophones. They urge citizens to recall the reasons the strike started in the first place. They also remind citizens of the killings, arrests, abuses and detentions as well as the on-going trial of the strike leaders and the frustrations of some of the protest leaders currently on the run.
The messages are relayed via social media and SMS. Tapang Ivo TanKu of the Consortium, revealed in a recorded video that every message of the organisation is sent by SMS to 800,000 citizens in the North West and South West regions of the country. They also claimed that there are some unidentified individuals who have taken upon themselves to brutalise everyone who attempts to disrupt what is known among many Anglophones as “the struggle for restoration of the statehood of West Cameroon”.
Most of the texts, a couple of which Journal du Cameroun stumbled upon, end with “read, share and delete.” We gathered, this was introduced after reports that people are being arrested and detained for possessing strike-related messages in their phones. The consortium also highlights the fact that the protest is no longer that of teachers and lawyers only.
It should however be noted that contrary to the Consortium’s claims, government has started granting some of the demands of both the lawyers and teachers who started the strike. The recent creation of a department of French Modern Letters in the University of Bamenda and the translation of the OHADA texts are some of the actions taken in that direction. The systematic and gradual redeployment of Francophone teachers to schools of the French subsystem of education and Francophone magistrates to Civil Law courts is also underway.