The normal euphoria and fanfare coupled with immense economic activities that always characterize the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon weeks to the resumption of the academic year is nowhere to be found this season.
This is not unconnected to the current Anglophone crisis which entered a new phase in November 2016, crippling the academic year and prompting the Cameroon General Certificate of Education board, CGCE, to get the worst results in recent times. With the 2017/2018 academic year just a fortnight from today, some school authorities in the South West Region who spoke to this reporter expressed their frustration over the fact that on a daily basis, they go to school and spend the entire day without a single soul stopping by to ask any questions, talk yet register their children.
Reports from the North West Region hold that the same scenario is much worse in Bamenda, a town often considered as the centre of education reputed for providing the best results in national exams. Etoko Daniel, a denizen of Buea who spoke to this reporter explained that since the outlawed consortium decided to extend the ghost town to three days in a week, he had decided to relocate his three children to Bonaberi, Douala, so as to provide them with education.
What he describes as a “fundamental human right.” Bookshop vendors and tailors in Bamenda, Buea, Muyuka, Limbe, Kumba and Mutengene who spoke to this reporter were categorical that business had never been this dumb. They were unanimous that on certain days, not even a single parent or student visits them to either buy or sew school uniforms.
A situation described as abnormal especially in a period like this. Despite the uncertainty over the resumption of the academic year come September 4, stakeholders from the Ministries of Basic and Secondary Education and the ruling political party, CPDM, have all embarked on a back-to-school campaign, with their aims being to sensitize, mobilize and convince parents on the importance of enrolling their progeny in schools.