Eight Anglophone pressure groups fighting the marginalization of Anglophone culture in general and Anglophone education in particular, have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, to enable them confront their common enemy. The team of eight gathered in Bamenda to sign the MoU Tuesday, June 22. The eight pressure groups include the National Union of Teachers of Higher Education, SYNES, University of Buea Chapter; Cameroon Teachers’ Trade Union, CATTU; Teachers Association of Cameroon, TAC; and Presbyterian Education Authority Teachers Trade Union, PEATTU. The others are Baptist Teachers Trade Union, BATTU; Catholic Education Workers’ Trade Union, CEWOTU; All Anglophone Common Law Lawyers Conference; and Union of Parent – Teacher Associations, UPTA.
According to a press release issued by the group, they note that they were signing the MoU “mindful of the problems inherent in the Anglophone system of education and their impact on our existence as a cultural entity.” The release cites three reasons for coming together: to exchange information relating to teaching, teacher training, professional training and learning at different levels of the Anglophone system of education; to carry out studies relating to problems affecting such and to make the results of such studies known to the public and the appropriate authority; and to meet regularly to discuss, issue communiqués and newsletters to educate and sensitize the public on issues of socio – educational and cultural importance.
After signing the MoU, the group of eight immediately went into action by addressing a seven-page memorandum to the Prime Minister and Head of Government. The memorandum to the Prime Minister is titled “Barefaced attempts by the Minister of Higher Education to alienate Anglophones in Cameroon.” The group has vowed not to let the powers that be have any rest until issues affecting Anglophone Education have been handled to acceptable standards. “We would like to recall that the Universities of Buea and Bamenda were created by Presidential Decrees specifying that their character is Anglo – Saxon, a tacit recognition by the Head of State that Cameroon is made up of French – speaking and English – speaking peoples. But what the Minister of Higher Education and his collaborators have done is – flout the President Decrees and install a cabal that is out to humiliate, alienate and discriminate against Anglophones,” the memo to the Prime Minister reads in part.
It goes ahead to address issues affecting Anglophone education in Cameroon, stating in categorical terms that “this must stop or else there will be no peace.” The memo addresses issues like the marginalization of Anglophone students into professional schools; the recentralization of admission into medical schools; harmonization/uniformization of university programmes; recruitment of teachers who are not proficient in English, amongst other issues. The memo notes that “the very institutions which were meant to give the people a sense of belonging are today being used to divide them, humiliate them, discriminate and marginalize them.”
The memo goes further to suggest that “the plots and evil designs of the Minister of Higher Education make Anglophones to genuinely feel that Cameroon is an institutionalized conspiracy to degrade and wipe out the identity of Anglophones.” Some of the 10 points which the Anglophone pressure groups demand the Prime Minister to address include: the exclusion of the Universities of Buea and Bamenda from Minister Fame Ndongo’s on-going harmonization/uniformization project; that henceforth admission into the colleges of Medicine in the English-speaking State and Private Universities be conducted transparently in English; that henceforth the language requirement for admission into English- speaking institutions be respected not only by Anglophones, but by Francophones as well.
Other demands are that Anglophones be appointed to oversee academic affairs in English-speaking institutions and medical schools; that francophone teachers who do not have the linguistic profile to teach in English-speaking institutions or cannot speak English be redeployed to French-speaking institutions; that the Universities of Buea and Bamenda interview and recruit their lecturers according to their needs as it used to be; and that an independent commission be set up to investigate the injustices and humiliation Anglophone children and their sub-system have suffered in education in the last 10 years, amongst others.
After signing the MoU, James Arrey Abangma, President of SYNES, University of Buea Chapter, noted that the English sub system of education was being eroded by unnecessary changes. “The changes are being made to swallow Anglophone education, and we can’t sit back to see it happen,” Prof Abangma stated. “Anglophone Cameroon is considered an appendix but we will prove by our action that we are an entity, not an appendix,” Prof Abangma said. In the meantime, Tassang Wilfred, National Executive Secretary General of CATTU, said the fight to restore genuine Anglo-Saxon education in Cameroon was a fight for all. “The synergy has just begun,” Tassang noted. “It must grow to include professionals and career people of all sectors, including journalists, medical doctors, accountants, engineers, transporters, business people, market women, farmers, and others,” Tassang stated.
BaretaNews Statement: This is a good step having to bring 8 leaders from different Anglophone groups to relate and coordinate. It is good to see them forming a pact to fight the marginalisation of Anglophone Education. We want to see more unions coming together to fight on other issues that directly affected the state of the union. We want to see civil societies, Fons, Chiefs, Elites coming together. It is only a united front that will save Anglophone Cameroon.
Article culled from Cameroon Journal, written by Jeff Ngawe Yufenyu