Yesterday 27th December 2016, there was a dialogue (Bamenda Dialogue) organised by the government and teachers of the anglo-Saxon extraction of the Northwest region. The dialogue ended up with no refined judgment to solve the teachers’ worries so as to enable them call off the strike action.
We got a wide array of reports that the delegation from Yaounde kept teachers under pressure to agree to certain terms and conditions against their collective wish. The teachers attempted walking out of the hall but were compelled to sit against their will. After an unhappy deliberation, the Chairman of the Adhoc Interministerial Committee offered this communique:
1- The Ad hoc Committee wished to work with all members. However, based on claims which have nothing to do with education, trade unions and other associations left the hall. Only representatives of confessional private education and private higher education displayed a sense of good faith to contribute to the working session.
2- The three ministers of basic, secondary and higher education presented Government efforts towards the English-speaking subsystem of education and its willingness to continue dialogue. I will cite, amongst others, the on-going census of secondary school teachers to redeploy them to fill the gap observed in the English-speaking subsystem of education. It is also the same for the draft Order to set the duration of studies and naming the certificates obtained in technical education of the English-speaking subsystem of education. I also wish to mention the holding of the National Forum on Education in 2017, which brings lots of hope for the education community as a whole and the English subsystem in particular.
3- I wish to congratulate all participants who had a sense of efficiency and patriotism.
4- Within the framework of its sovereign missions, the State will continue towards dialogue and concertation with all stakeholders, to achieve realistic and progressive results to technical concerns of one sub-system of education or the other (English-speaking subsystem, French sub-system).
5- Both sub-systems are bound to coexist in Cameroon, each in its specificity and originality without anyone trying to absorb the other.
6- With regard to extremist trade unionists who publicly refused to be part of this working session for reasons that have nothing to do with the education of young Cameroonians, Government will take its responsibility.
7- The State shall not allow individuals who do not show proof of good faith to take pupils, students, parents, Civil Society Organizations hostage; they who have just one wish: That the English-speaking sub-system of education should function effectively in the interest of our nursery, primary, secondary and university youth of the English-speaking subsystem, who are an integral part of the national educational system.
8- The Adhoc committee shall continue to work with people who display good faith to preserve the specificity, the originality and the radiance of the English-speaking subsystem of education in a Cameroon that is united in diversity.
9- The Adhoc Committee is determined to find efficient solutions to genuine problems in the English-speaking subsystem of education, in accordance with the laws and regulations of the Republic.
10- I wish to inform you that we have met with students, teachers in their large majority, parents and all people of good will. They are against this manipulation of trade unions, and will want schools to start as soon as possible. That is the Government’s stand point. Let us not jeopardize our children’s future.
11- We call on all men and women, Cameroonians of good will to do all so that classes resume early January in all parts of the North West and South West Regions. The Government will take her responsibility. Cameroonian children in the North West and South West regions must be educated as their brothers and sisters in the other eight regions.
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