Cameroon Concord's Arrey Echi Agbor-Ndakaw tells the Cameroon story of "Back To School" using the same stylistic devices her Dad- Veteran Journalist Prince Agbor Echi Agbor Ndakaw exploited more than three decades ago.
It is again that time of the year when the first image that greets the eyes is that of smartly dressed and multi colored uniformed pupils and students all excitedly hurrying to the eternal fountain of knowledge. After more than three months of holidaying which for some, were filled with excited new learning while for others it meant back breaking farm work to guarantee they have the needs for the next school year and the rigours preparations to get their kids ready; Cameroonian youth and the Cameroon Concord family finally join most of their counterparts worldwide in this onward march in the quest for knowledge. The said quest that will go on for the next nine months.Most are returning to state of the art and well-staffed schools and classrooms while many are returning to semidetached and crumbling structures with absentee teachers and staffs especially in our rural areas deep within Anglophone Cameroon. Notwithstanding, Cameroon remains one of the few African countries that can boost of a good educational system and high level literacy rate. Unfortunately, events of the past few decades show that this legacy is now a kind of CPDM rhetoric and it will continue on a downward spiral if necessary steps are not taken to revamp every sector that deals with the education of the Cameroonian youth.
In the past, learning was consider a joy but today, many view learning as a chore; going to school because their parents insist they do and reading solely for the purpose of passing an exam and going to the next class instead of acquiring knowledge. The attitude of many teachers also lives much to be desired. Gone are the days when teaching was considered a truly noble profession because the vast majority of those who took up teaching had a passion for it. Today, many are just there to make ends meet and as such do not challenge the kids to read and discover things outside their school books. We are thus facing a new crises that of an increasing a-literacy class - people who can read but never get to open a book after their school years. Conversely, the dismal performance of many students in end of year public exams especially in the GCE levels calls for concern and a need to sit up to ensure this school year runs smoothly and students at the end of the year go home with the satisfaction of learning and accomplishing something worthwhile. To be sure, this revamping of the educational system is a monumental task that will require a lot of participants and stake holders but it is not an impossible dream. It is therefore hoped that as we look on with beaming smiles watching our kids and others head back to school; parents in particular will have a significant part to play in helping the teachers make learning and knowledge acquisition a joy. A stitch in time, saves nine.