The crisis has made life so difficult that many people decided to move to other regions in Cameroon or seek refuge in Nigeria. The number of displaced persons is estimated to over 180.000 persons and the number is expected to increase by January 2019. Despite the mass exodus, some people are forced to stay back because of their jobs and families.
Teachers are among those who are having the toughest time going about their professional and personal activities in the Northwest and Southwest regions of the country. This is as a result of the fact that the separatist have refused to let students and teachers in the English speaking regions of Cameroon go school freely.
Difficulties Teachers Face
This is one of the greatest challenge teachers living and working in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon face on a daily basis. Most teachers receives threats from “the boys” through phone calls and SMSs. Some of them find messages in their classrooms when they go to teach in the morning. Some teachers are kidnapped and their families have to pay huge amounts of money before they are released. An example is the 6th of November case where students and teachers where kidnapped from PSS Nkwen in the Northwest region.
Other teachers face extreme brutalities and humiliation such as being beaten in front of their students. The worst case was when some teachers’ fingers were cut off in Mutengene in Southwest region because they were caught teaching.
Most teachers and their families in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon have been living from hand to mouth for the past two years. Those who teach in private schools are those who face financial challenges because private institutions usually depend on fees paid by students to pay their teachers. Due to the fact that most students have left the Northwest and Southwest region to other regions where they can go to school freely, proprietors find in difficult to pay teachers because of lack of funds.
Unfortunately, the schools that manage to pay their teachers have reduced their salaries, and the salaries are not available at the end of every month. A teacher from a school in Sasse laments that he is unable to take care of his family with the money he earns and he has not been able to send his children to school.
This is the plight of many teachers in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon, especially those in places like Mamfe, Kumba, Ekona, Kumbo, Batibo, Bali and Bafut. These are the regions that are most hit by the crisis, and life is at a standstill for many people especially teachers. Most schools in these areas have been shut down, making the teachers who use to work there jobless. It is not easy to get a new job because the jobs are not even available. Others are forced to stay because they cannot afford to move out with all their families, neither can they go and leave their families behind.
What about new graduates posted in these areas?
When the posting list for new graduates from the Higher Teachers Training College Bambili was released, some of the new graduates were filled with joy while others burst into tears. Those posted in the troubled areas are gripped by fear, as they wonder how they will assume service.
“I do not know how I will reach my school. All the roads have been blocked and neither the armed forces nor the separatist will let anyone go through no matter what”, says a young teacher posted in GHS Kitiwum in Kumbo.
Most of them complained about the short deadlines the administration gave them to assume duty, despite the fact that they are fully aware of the insecurity in these areas and the fact that teachers are among their targets.
Despite the fact that all teachers in the English speaking regions of Cameroon have similar problems, it is worth noting that those working in the private sector suffer most because they do not have a steady salary at the end of every month like the government teachers. Life is not easy for them, as they have to live in fear and hiding, and have to look over their shoulders every time they go out of their homes.
Article from AFRIC Editorial