They have been assured of administrative, practical, technical measures and determination of government to carry out its responsibility of ensuring education for all citizens.
Barely a week to the start of the 2019/2020 academic year on Monday, September 2, 2019, government has assured the population of the socio-political and security crisis-ridden North West and South West Regions of measures taken to ensure an effective start of schools. The same population has been urged to be courageous in resisting threats and intimidation from separatist fighters and to fight to ensure that their children attend primary, secondary and higher education institutions the school.
Government’s exhortation and call came on August 26, 2019 night during a joint press conference granted by the Minister of State, Minister of Higher Education, Jacques Fame Ndongo, Minister of Communication, René Emmanuel Sadi, Minister of Basic Education, Laurent Serge Etoundi Ngoa, Secretary of State to the Minister of Secondary Education, Boniface Bayaola with the Secretary of State to the Minister of Basic Education, Asheri Kilo actively participating. The joint press conference was on the resumption of activities in schools and universities in the North West and South West Regions. Communication Minister René Emmanuel Sadi in his introductory statement quoted items 17 and 18 of the Preamble of the Constitution of Cameroon whose key highlight is that, “The State shall ensure the child’s right to education” and the fact that the organization and control of education at all levels is an imperative duty of the State. He equally stated the provisions of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child.
He enumerated the atrocities caused by secessionist fighters on the educational establishments, killings, kidnappings and other outrageous activities. He said the abuses committed by secessionists against the educational system in the North West and South West Regions in the past 12 months have been unbearable. The Minister said 72 terrorist attacks were carried out against education institutions between January and August 2019. During the question and answer session, the participating Ministers also presented the disturbing situation. The Minister of Basic Education, Etoundi Ngoa said before the start of the crisis, there were over 5,000 schools in the North West. He said today, only 895 are functioning and 3,009 schools are locked. He added that out of the 2,800 schools that were operational in South West at the beginning of the crisis, only 768 are functioning today. He disclosed that 46 primary schools have been destroyed in the North West with 24 of them occupied by the secessionist fighters. In the South West, he said, 73 schools have been destroyed and 45 occupied by fighters. The Secretary of State to the Minister of Secondary Education said eight teachers were assassinated in the North West Region.
The situation in the higher education sector, the Minister of State Fame Ndongo said the student population in the State Universities was instead steadily increasing. For the University of Bamenda, he said there were 17,153 students in the 2018/2019 school year and 21,500 in the University of Buea.