Anglophone Crisis:Menchum division panting for educational salvation

Menchum, one of seven divisions of the Northwest region has in no little way been spared by the prevailing Cameroon Anglophone crisis. With the crisis raging on for four years now, a number of establishments in the division have shut down. The educationional sector keeps the area a little boosting but at the same time attracts empathy for reasons of teaching apathy.

The Menchum Division, of the Northwest region is in grievous desperation of education. The situation is worsened by the absence of teachers in schools against an impressive majority of school children in need of knowledge. It is the third week of the second term, 2019/2020 academic year, yet Government High School Wum with an enrollment of about 400 students has a teaching staff of less than 20. The statistics of school attendance in GBHS Wum taken on a day shows.

 Students: -Boys:08 Girls:19 Total:27. Teachers: -Male:00 Female: -00 Admittaturs: -02. « The staff strength of GBHS Wum is 60, but only 8 staff participated and evaluated 15 students during the first term » A teacher disclosed »the principal of GBHS Wum is on seat since September.  at times he is the lone person on campus actively teaching students » a source complemented

When I contacted a form five student of GHS Wum by means of telephone call, she cried about the situation she is going through « we are just managing on our own since we have no teachers. We have just a Geography teacher and a History Teacher, our principal has not been in school, we were told that teachers would come by the second term but as at now nothing. Students organise catch up classes on their own and teach themselves. It’s really difficult given that I have to take the GCE exams » 

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 A form five student of GTHS Wum laments « We are managing with few teachers. The only serious teacher has been our Engineering Science Teacher. The others are not serious they gave only the scheme of work and left. The Construction Processing Teacher came once and introduced herself. She told us that she’s going back to bring her things but since then we have not spotted her. We don’t have a teacher in most of our trade subjects and we don’t have a teacher in Mathematics, English and French which are compulsory subjects. I’m supposed to seat for the International Technical Certificate exam but the teachers are not there to prepare us »

 » My son is in form one, I’m struggling to teach him a few things in the house because since the beginning of the term, they have not had a lesson.  As a parent I’m so disappointed with the administration for not making it possible for teachers to teach these children » an indignant parent spoke.

In an effort to find out why the schools are without teachers, this reporter was told that the present ineffectiveness is matched by the fact that no disciplinary measures were taken to sanction teachers who either boycotted resumption or assumption of duties since the first term, so it encouraged laxity.

Quizzed whether teachers are facing threats that discourage teaching, the response was « neither a student nor a teacher has been attacked. Many teachers are complaining about coming to wum but the paradox is, they find it easier to leave Wum, I see others buying and selling goods, going about their chores in Wum but they won’t come to teach« . Said another parent.

 “An arrangement was made for a military car to transport teachers who say they are afraid to travel to Wum but the teachers failed to turn out » a school administrator disclosed.

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These samples in Wum are a microcosm of the situation elsewhere in Menchum where students and pupils in want of education are thriving. Educational institutions in Menchum Valley and Furu – Awa sub divisions are totally shut due to threats from separatist fighters.

 “Government is taking measures to sanction absentee staff…, the security situation is under control” has been the cliche echoed and reechoed during administrative meetings by those in charge of seeing that teachers get to work.

Students craving for studies are frustrated by the very absence of teachers, a situation which has pushed some to voluntarily drop out. Those in dire need of education have no choice than to fend for themselves. 

In the entire Menchum Division with more than fifteen secondary schools just about five secondary schools are functional; John Paul the second Comprehensive College Wum JOPACC, GHS Wum, GBHS Wum, GHS Bafmeng and St Gabriel Comprehensive College Bafmeng. Wum, divisional headquarter of Menchum hosts four of the aforementioned but for St Gabreil which is in Bafmeng. 

Meanwhile a few primary schools mostly government and denominational are operational. 

It becomes worrisome because education known to be the most trusted glimmer of hope is frustrated by the absence of teachers. 

There is therefore need to rescue Menchum from the crumbling system lest the future risks bleak.

BY MILDRED NDUM WUNG KUM