OPEN LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT OF REPUBLIC OF CAMEROON:
The Time is Now for you, Mr President, to take the most important action of your long mandate !
Second crisis: 2017-2018 School Year in the North West and South West Regions
Mr. President, for the past 10 months, the Anglophone crisis has made our nation quaver, bringing to the forefront problems that are decades old and foundational to our country. The disastrous handling of this crisis by your government has endangered our national unity and fostered the emergence of radical groups who today, propose solutions that could mean the end of Cameroon as we know it. Though this crisis as a whole urgently needs to be addressed, there is one aspect of it that requires your immediate attention.
• It is estimated that over 3 million children in our country were unable to complete the 2017-2018 school year in the Northwest and Southwest regions.
• Despite threats and force used by your government to get children back to the classroom, few of them did so.
• The current calls for children to register for school by your government fail to provide key operational elements.
o What class should children register into?
o What measures have been taken for children to acquire the lessons and knowledge they missed last school year?
o How should schools organize this in terms of supplementary teaching days and hours?
• Parents kept their children away from school for a multitude of reasons. Most importantly, they felt the atmosphere of insecurity was such that their children were not safe. The hyper-militarization of these regions as well as arbitrary arrests and detention, both of which continue to this day, were the key factors in creating this atmosphere of insecurity.
Mr. President, our country cannot afford for millions of children to miss another school year. You hold within your power the ability to give these children back their right to education, in a matter of hours. Please take the following measures immediately so innocent children do not continue to pay for the poor governance enacted your successive governments.
1. Free all those who have been arrested in connection with the Anglophone crisis. All these arrests were carried out illegally without respect of Cameroonian law. Freeing these people will create an atmosphere of détente which will enable dialogue to resume for the resolution of the crisis and most importantly, children to go back to school in a few weeks.
2. Demand that the court dismisses the cases against the Anglophone clergy. These cases were fallacious to begin with and today, it would seem there are no plaintiffs. These cases serve no one and are an absurd barrier to begin the resolution of the Anglophone problem.
3. Sit down with the teachers’ trade unions and determine sustainable strategies to resolve:
a. The immediate crisis of the 2017-2018 school year
b. The fundamental problems that were outlined by the Anglophone teachers in November 2016 and which instead of being solved, led to their arrest and exile.
Mr. President, members of your government have reminded Cameroonians repeatedly in the last few months that education is a right. We now remind you that you, as Head of State, are the guarantor of that right. We are weeks away from the beginning of the school year.
Take the above three measures and guarantee the right to education to millions of Cameroonian children.