Normalcy in NW/SW : SOS Education !

September 2023 is galloping forth for schools to resume in Cameroon. The reality that stares in the face now remains the worry over the safety of education throughout the nooks and crannies of the country. This concern is based on the threats that education has suffered in the past six years in both North West and South West anglophone regions of Cameroon due to the raging socio-political crisis. A similar situation of menace to schooling was glaring in the Far North Region owing to the Boko Haram flares. 
To begin with, it is capital to note that some level of normalcy is visible on the ground. With it comes the rising hope for smooth school resumption this September. Notwithstanding, authorities still have to grapple with the new phenomenal stance for “community schools” being militated for by armed groups in the bushes as against the State-owned schools that already existed on the ground. In that circumstance, a battle line is being drawn and the puzzle is evident to blend the importance of education with the colour that schools should take. 
That brings the Cameroonian society to answer such apprehensions to include “is it the primacy of education or the kind of school that should exist”? Are we, in the first place, worried that 95 percent of the school age children have not been to school for years now in Anglophone Cameroon? By the end of 2022, researchers’ reports carried that over 700.000 school age children had either dropped from learning or never started education at all in tormented zones. Except for the few who had the means to flee to safer cities or Regions. Running schools in the affected Regions has remained a nightmare. 
Memories of October 24, 2020 mass killing of seven and injuring 13 students in a school in Kumba by gunmen are still fresh and remain a scare for school attendance in the South West Region of Cameroon. Also, 78 students and their Principal were abducted in 2018 from a school in Bamenda by gunmen who took them to their hiding. Is conflict supposed to halt education and so damage the future of young people who are innocent about societal gimmicks? Is education still a human right as clamoured by the United Nations?
Attempting an answer to these worries takes us to some of Nelson Mandela’s messages from his then Robben Island prison in South Africa. He worried that if the children of Soweto and the rest of the country were not going to school, how would they ever understand what Mandela was fighting for? He added, “education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world”. It takes a good level of education to solve societal problems. So, the revolution may be killing itself by killing education. 
Education is undisputedly the most precious thing for humanity. Pundits hold that learning develops, empowers, and brings great change in our lives. Education enlightens and makes life meaningful and prosperous. Knowing such an importance, who then is engineering tools against education in Cameroon? Having in mind that education is the only thing no one can take away from you, it is important to recall that education is the fact of moving from darkness to light. As such, anybody standing in the way of education is bringing darkness so they can hide something.
For the past years of chequered schooling in the crisis territory, Cameroonians have witnessed Government’s struggle for school safety and attendance. Authorities of the Country have been on their heels encouraging the functioning of schools here and there. Yet other camps have been fueling the burning of schools, the killing and maiming of teachers, pupils and students. If people should not go to school, then someone is preparing them for slavery. Who, in the 21st century, would accept to sacrifice school for ghost, or knowledge for ignorance? Let belligerent camps, whoever and wherever save the soul of education in Cameroon. 
In such remote and dagger-drawn areas like Lebialem Division in the South West Region, epistolary exchanges are rife on the social media as to whether schools should resume or not. War protagonists are against school resumption while the majority progressive elite from within and without is hammering to get schools started in the area. One school favourite wrote “We have endured the horrors of war, witnessed the destruction it has wr...



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