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Safeguarding The Credibility Of The GCE



If nothing else, the middle school certificate, in the Anglophone Education system, the General Certificate of Education, GCE, is one of those legacies bequeathed to the peoples formally under the British colonial administration. As a tradition, the GCE examinations system has since the handing over of the regulatory and supervisory powers from the London GCE to the Cameroon GCE, been regulated and supervised under the public education examinations system, directly under the Ministry of Secondary Education.
There-after, it was not to be satisfactory to the Anglophones, the main beneficiaries of the system. And so began a series of agitations and arguments for a separate regulatory and supervisory body that will handle the examinations in an atmosphere of transparency, conditions and tradition that respond favourably to the original spirit of the examinations. In retrospect, what we in this Newspaper will never forget to do, is to appreciate the collective effort, courage and determination of all those who fought for this dream to be realized. Through this effort, the government was forced to reason and the GCE Board was established.
Fortunately, since the establishment of this body, such irregularities as rampant cases of examination leakages, brazen acts of corruption have ceased to manifest, due to the stringent management formulas of the Board. But today a little dark cloud is widening and hovering in the sky directly over the GCE Board. In the course of the stalemate in the country, the credibility of the GCE is being threatened. And this means that if we look back at the near-fight-to-death, for the establishment of this monumental institution in the culture of the Anglophones, all we have to do is to say no effort should be spared to guard very jealously this institution. There is every evidence to prove that since the creation of the Cameroon GCE Board, it has maintained its head high despite all odds.
We say this without forgetting that in every human endeavour, there must be short comings and therefore the GCE Board could not have been an exception. Yet such shortcomings have never shaken their grip on the norms that bind them to their responsibilities. We can add also that the Anglophone crisis which has made it difficult for students to have benefitted fully from their class lessons, leaving them virtually half prepared, or not at all formed for the exams, has also cast doubts on the credibility of the exams. It is obviously difficult to mend the damage, even though we acknowledge the fact that government has the right to save the academic year, involving the introduction of the two-week catch-up of classes, as well as an extension of deadlines for registrations, we consider this measures grossly in- adequate.
The worst of it all is the decision to allow unregistered children to write. If those who took this decision could not foresee a clear opening for fraud, then it is unfortunate. We already are aware that in the past, there have been cases where officially and credibly registered candidates have paid people from outside to write public exams for them. It would be foolish not to think that this is a sure opening for such acts of examination fraud.
It is worth noting that in professional schools, or even government schools, classes have not been effective, even though every sinister effort was made for things to look better and normal. At the end of the day, what we may receive will do our children no good, not even the parents or, the education image of the country. We are in the middle of a serious crisis, no matter how much cynics will ascribe it to the Anglophones, meaning that it is only children of the two Anglophone regions who will suffer. This is not altogether true. It is equally the quality of the country’s education and value of its certificates that stand to be questioned.
We must not lose sight of the fact that we are one of the several countries with the highest unemployment rates, and our children are daily searching for openings for greener pastures out of our borders. Do we expect the certificates of such children to be accepted with applause? The truth is that, despite government’s efforts, this school year is a botched one, for who will give credence to an exam written under such circumstances?. It is therefore not a matter to jubilate, thinking that it is a punishment exclusively for the Anglophones.

The Sun Newspaper Editorial

Culled from the Sun Newspaper

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