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The Church, Parents and School Resumption

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Ceasefire on the Church, Take Your Responsibility

So much ink and saliva have flown ever since the authorities of the Catholic, Baptist and Presbyterian Churches sent out announcements calling on parents to send their children for interviews into form 1 while at the same time indicating that they had decided, at the behest of government to promote all pupils of primaries 1 to 5 to superior classes and students of forms 1 to 4 and lower sixth to the next forms although they went to school for less than two months and took examinations for only two out of six sequences.

The resolve by the Churches, apparently under pressure from government that is suspicions that Clergymen are secretly supporting the Southern Cameroons Revolution and calls for the restoration of the independence of the former British colony, puts them in a difficult situation. It makes the Church authorities to appear complacent with a situation where the education of the pupils and students is truncated, a situation whereby pupils and students are being promoted to the next forms when they never received lessons on the laid-out curriculum for the previous classes.

The cooperation of the Church that has gone as far as calling on parents to send their children for catch-up holiday classes is seen as abominable. The public wonders whether it is possible to dish out to children in one month what they were expected to study in nine months with different instances of evaluation. The outcry is simply that by respecting such a move, the Church appears to be favouring exactly what the revolution seeks to correct; falling standards of education.

The matter is made worse when the Church in its releases indicates that parents have a choice to decide whether they want their children to repeat their current classes or not; an aberration in a system where school authorities generally hold the power to evaluate pupils and students and determine whether they would be fit for the next class or not. The whole situation is described as a “deliberate decision by the government to devalue Southern Cameroons’ education standards with the active participation of Men of God whose role it is to protect and uphold moral values”.

That is why the people are today noting that our Clergymen have suddenly begun fearing that which would affect their flesh, ignoring their role which is to foster the fear rather of that which will affect the spirit. The question thus arises; who are our Clergymen more prone to obey today, the earthly authority in defiance of the truth (Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life) or God who says his workers must stand for the poor, the weak and the vulnerable? The answer to this question is best answered by the Prelates who seem to have allowed themselves to be enmeshed in falsehood.

That said, it is important for Southern Cameroonians and all those who have opened fire on Church leaders to understand that no one on earth has the power to judge anyone, let alone those anointed and called to the service of God. It is necessary for us all to note that in as much as the Clergymen are making announcements calling on people to send their children to school, they have on no account announced consequences were anyone to decide not to obey the calls. We must remind ourselves that this strike action was never initiated by the Church in the first place; the Church just found itself in the middle of a situation it never created.

The power to decide whether schools reopen in September or not lies in the hands of the parents whose children make up the school population. If the parents are determined to fight all the way and guarantee that their children stay home until a better future is secured for them, then the announcements on the various alters and pulpits would only offer government lip services and nothing more, after all is said and done, they are our children and it is our duty to make sure they see a better tomorrow.

The people of Southern Cameroons of their own volition decided to lend their support to teachers and lawyers on industrial action for the protection of Anglo-Saxon values they said were being eroded. Today, Clergymen have been dragged to Court on grounds that they refused to open their schools for pupils and students to go there and study. At the same time, headteachers and principals of government schools whose classes remained empty much of the time have not been threatened, although government is the owner of those schools.

From the foregoing, one truth is self-evident; that if parents send their children to school in September when all the conditions they set forth before schools resume have not been met, then they are certainly telling the entire world that the Church was clearly and singularly responsible for the boycott that marred the 2016/2017 academic year. It is obviously for that reason the government has caused its courts to adjourn their cases until after schools resume to ascertain what the authorities have been suspecting.

Rather than spend time sponsoring a tirade against the Church and Men of God, it is incumbent on the parents of children of school-going age to take their responsibilities and put their message across unambiguously. Although no one will applaud Men of God who seek to stand on the fence and protect themselves when their people are in trouble, at The Times Journal, we think that the people should come out of their shelves and fearlessly either demonstrate to government that they do not buy into the philosophy of the struggle or tell the world triumphantly that they want change, that they want self-determination. There is no such thing as a midway in this matter.

Curled from The Times Journal of Monday the 24th of July, 2017.

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