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Civil Society activists, politicians, newspaper publishers, teachers and parents have joined the campaigns for effective resumption of schools in the North West and South West Regions
Following the outbreak of the ongoing socio-political crisis in the regions, some schools have not operated effectively in the last two academic years. As the 2019-2020 academic year draws near, activists, politicians, administrators, parents and students are mobilizing to ensure an effective kick start of classes come September 2nd, 2019 when the school bells would ring. Both pedagogues and schoolchildren who made attempts to go to school in some places were kidnapped, maimed or even killed. With threats, there was no alternative but to stay at home. The privileged few sent their kids to less turbulent areas in other regions and to other cities like Douala, Bafoussam and Yaounde. Leading the calls, North West Governor, Adolph Lele Lafrique Tchoffo Deben, along with Parent Teacher Associations and other stakeholders from across the North West rounded up a preparatory meeting this July, to pave the way for effective school resumption. Elsewhere, at the end of an annual Chief’s conference on July 13th, 2019, traditional leaders from Lebielem Division in the South West Region urged parents in the North West and South West Regions to send their kids to school come September 2019. This call that sanctioned the conference was facilitated by the Minister Delegate at the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Regional Development, Paul Tasong. Corroborating the actors above, the South West and North West Women’s Task Force (SNWOT) has not been indifferent to the back to school campaigns. Through a six-point press release signed on July 11, 2019, they called for a massive back to school come this September when the 2019/2020 academic year begins. Commenting on the press release, SNWOT Coordinator, Omam Esther Njiomo says whatever be the case, children have a right to education. Growing Consensus In the same vein, the President of the Popular Action Party, Ayah Paul Abine remarked that “True is it that pictures we have seen of children braving it to school in several war-torn countries, not the least devastated Syria. Also, it is common knowledge that we are what we are today due predominantly to our acquisition of knowledge from formal education. Not even the dishonest, therefore, would doubt that formal education is primordial to achievements.” He however cautioned parents to make certain the security of their kids as he challenged fighters to drop their arms. On his part, Felix Agbor Nkongho, the Founder and Chairman of the Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa has also joined the campaign for effective school resumption in the distressed regions. The Cameroon English Language Newspaper Publishers Association, CENPA has joined the campaigns. They are matching word with action as they plan to distribute didactic materials to school going kids across the 13 Divisions that make up the NW and SW Regions. This was made public in a press conference that held on July 23, in Yaounde Speaking to the Cameroon Insider, Silas Ngong Kimbi, a teacher, says he strongly advocates for parents to send their kids to school, for kids to show up for classes and for teachers to return to classrooms. He however called on government to give assurance that by September, when school gates are open, a conducive study environment would have been created. And that while in class, they will not hear gunshots since effective learning cannot happen in a context of distress. Crying out loud on the issue, Rene Tam, a Lower Sixth Student of GBHS Fonfuka (Bum Sub Division) regrets the academic years he has lost as a result of the prevailing situation. When schools reopen in a few weeks therefore, this growing consensus on school resumption that has gained steam, is expected to reflect on the effervescence and turn out of day one