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Education remains stalled in Cameroon’s restive regions

27.06.2019
Article from AFRIC Editorial
An uneducated child is susceptible and likely to fall in the hands of rebels when war deprives children the right to proper education. This phenomenon seems to be unavoidable in the countries that have experienced civil unrest over the years. Children in Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, have been denied the right to education due to the unending fighting in these nations.

A case in recent times is the Republic of Cameroon where education has remained an implausible treasure in the North West and South West regions of the country, following a three-year conflict that has rocked the English speaking regions of the Central African State.

Over 80% of schools reported closed in the North West and South West Regions.

Saying that Education is doomed in the predominantly English speaking zones won’t be an exaggeration, as over 80% of schools are not functional since the insurrection broke out between the pro-independence fighters and Cameroon’s military. As per a recent release by the United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF, more than six hundred thousand (600.000) children have deprived the right to education as a result of the deteriorating security situation in the fragile regions. According to UNICEF statistics, some 74 schools have been destroyed.  UNICEF spokesperson Toby Fricker recently stated ‘’for many children, it has been three years since they last stepped foot in a classroom. As a result of a prohibition on education by non-state armed groups and attacks, over 80 per cent of schools have been closed, affecting more than 600,000 children. At least 74 schools have been destroyed, while students, teachers and school personnel have been exposed to violence, abduction and intimidation. Since 2018, over 300 students and teachers have been kidnapped. After traumatic experiences, they were all subsequently released’’.

The most devastating effects of the unrest in Cameroon is the attack on education. Children have lost their fundamental or basic right to education. Imagine what the future holds for Cameroon when a significant population especially youths have been caught up in war. Students and instructors have suffered a series of abductions. The ban by pro-independence  fighters has left the future of an entire generation with no fate.  According to one teacher, who declined being named for security reasons, though education is classified in 2 forms formal and informal, both are relevant to the development of an individual and a nation, thus, shutting down of schools means no formal education for the youths we label as “leaders of tomorrow”. What leadership do we expect them to exercise without learning the skills that will help mould the inborn skills they have already? Informal education alone can’t guarantee that. There is therefore a need for a quick solution to the seemingly unending civil unrest in the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon.

Efforts of School shutdown on Children

Following a recent release on June 21, 2019 by UNICEF’s Spokesperson Toby Fricker, when children are out of school, they become very susceptible. There is a saying that ‘’an idle mind is a devil’s workshop’’ so being out of school exposes children to so many negative things. These include the following:

  • A higher risk of recruitment by armed groups
  • Many young girls are more likely to be exposed to child marriage, early pregnancy
  • Illiteracy rates increases
  • Trauma and enduring emotional distress among the youths.

According to the UNICEF official, about 1.3 million people, some 650,000 children inclusive, are in dire need of help, mainly humanitarian assistance in the English speaking regions of Cameroon. People are living in very deplorable conditions with little or no security guaranteed. Around 450,000 of these people, half of whom are children, are internally displaced. Hundreds have lost their lives.

The 2018-2019 school year has culminated all over the national territory, inscriptions have already begun in the other eight regions of the country, but the story is still unclear in the restive English Speaking regions. Education has totally been hijacked by the so-called Ambazonia fighters, leaving thousands especially low-income earners who can’t afford to relocate in Limbo.  Another school year opens in September 2019, but, will the story change in the violence-hit regions? War is a man made phenomenon and Man can still top the War. Both local and International communities have intensified their calls on both the government of President Paul Biya and the armed groups to embrace dialogue and stop the war. The Future of Young Cameroonians cannot be compromised.

Retrospect

Thinking about the genesis of the Anglophone crisis and how it has engulfed the two regions of Cameroon, one begins to lament. Some forces of destruction took advantage of the Lawyers and teachers grievances in October 2016, putting the nation in this present situation. Cameroon before 2016 was one of the most peaceful countries in central Africa, but egoism and greed combined with forces of destabilization brought the nation to a standstill.  The socio political crisis has been ongoing for three years now.  Efforts by Yaoundé to shot the crisis has remained futile as the so-called Ambazonia fighters keep pressing for independence. Reiterating on the fact that war is man made and can be willingly stopped by man, the challenge now goes to Yaoundé, Pro-independence fighters and others benefiting from the war to make it stop.

Article from AFRIC Editorial

Credit image :google image / illustration

 

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