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Education

Nearly 500 schools directly affected by violence in NW, SW – Trade Unions

The Cameroon Teachers’ Trade Union, CATTU, Catholic Education Workers Trade Unions, CEWOTU, Presbyterian Education Authority Teachers Union, PEATTU, Baptist Teachers Trade Union, BATTUC, and the Teachers Association of Cameroon, TAC have addressed the crisis in the North West and South West regions of Cameroon.

In a latest release, the five trade unions revealed that a total of 465 schools have been partially or wholly looted, occupied by armed gangs “or partially or wholly burnt down within the past two years”.

“These figures are breathtakingly horrifying and give the impression of a slow but inevitable descent into a hellish form of existence, which will leave in its wake repercussions untold,” the statement said.

The violence the teachers say is “devastating the educational legacy of the Anglophone regions”.
They add that “in the 20018/2019 school year, the number of students who were either attacked, tortured and/or shot stood at was 287, while in 2019/2020, the number dropped to a non-negligible 24…correspondingly the number of teachers in the same bracket was 97 in 2018/2019 and 67 in 2019/2020”.

Appealing for all parties involved in the close to four-year-long conflict in Cameroon’s English-speaking regions to put an end to the bloodshed, leaders of the five trade unions further painted a similar picture of the experiences of teachers, citing the case of three of them affected recently.

According to the union leaders, government “should continue to explore ways of reaching out to the parties in the ongoing conflict and addressing the grievances that provoked the crisis in the first place.”

The army also has a role to play, they added. “They should continue sourcing for ways to actually secure the beleaguered populations and communities and to make tact and restraint their philosophy in every action of theirs, especially vis-a-vis the civilians who consciously or unconsciously play buffer”.

“That will at least show the difference between the professionals they are and the rag-tag armed men they are called upon to tango with every now and then” they add.

The bloody conflict which has triggered reactions from concerned friends of Cameroon abroad began in 2016 with the lawyers’ and teachers’ strike. Actors of both entities urged for educational and legal reforms, but the government reacted by arresting and torturing several protesters who took to the street peacefully.

The problem, the trade unionist affirm, are yet to be addressed. “From the onset of the strike, we did not contend that our educational system was totally bad. We equally asserted that a good number of those issues have been righted and we cannot assess the good faith and equity of their implementation to good measure if we do not allow for schools to resume safely”.

“These figures are breathtakingly horrifying and give the impression of a slow but inevitable descent into a hellish form of existence, which will leave in its wake repercussions untold,” the statement said.

The violence the teachers say is “devastating the educational legacy of the Anglophone regions”. They add that “in the 20018/2019 school year, the number of students who were either attacked, tortured and/or shot stood at was 287, while in 2019/2020, the number dropped to a non-negligible 24…correspondingly the number of teachers in the same bracket was 97 in 2018/2019 and 67 in 2019/2020”.

(C) Mimi Mefo Info