Teachers’ representative organisations in Cameroon are united in demanding security in schools in a country “badly shaken by an unprecedented and wave of intolerable violence” at the beginning of the year.
No teacher in Cameroon “feels safe anymore, not only on school campuses but, more generally, in the job today”. That’s according to a statement issued on 18 January by a trade union platform. The three Education International’s member organisations in the country belong to this platform: the Fédération Camerounaise des Syndicats de l'Education, the Fédération des Syndicats de l'Enseignement et de la Recherche and the Syndicat des Travailleurs des Etablissements Scolaires Privés du Cameroun.
Neglect and passivity by public authorities
In the statement, the teachers’ unions bitterly regret that “violence, not properly dealt with and directly and indirectly encouraged by questionable practices and regulations, has become ingrained on school campuses, imposing its own law. Even pupils are increasingly becoming victims”.
They unanimously denounce “negligence and passivity by the education authorities and the government”. They also demand an immediate debate on violence in schools and call for urgent solutions to be adopted and applied.
Memoranda addressed to the public authorities
The unions call on “teachers to mobilise in all the Republic’s schools and colleges – primary, secondary and higher education – to draw up critical memoranda for the ministers in charge of education and the Prime Minister”.
These must clearly denounce the violence against both teachers and pupils which is damaging the school environment, as well as the climate of passivity and failure to deal with the epidemic. Some of these texts have already been read out at weekly assemblies in schools on 27 January, before being passed on to the public authorities through the management chain.
Teacher murdered by student
The trade union platform has also addressed the murder of teacher Boris Kévin Njomi Tchakounte, who was stabbed to death by a student. The declaration, dated 2 February, denounces the “absence of the Ministry of Secondary Education from the funeral procession and the refusal to pay a deserved academic tribute to their employee, who was murdered while doing his job”.
The education unions add that they “condemn to our last breath the unjustifiable and largely disproportionate violence resorted to by the security forces against a funeral procession that did not threaten public order in any way”.
In addition, they repeat their demand that dates be set for holding a national dialogue on violence in schools and for a national education forum.
Education International: Solidarity with colleagues
Education International expresses its deepest solidarity with our Cameroonian colleagues and demands that the public authorities in Cameroon urgently correct this situation to guarantee quality education for everyone in the country.