Cameroon: Teachers leverage Go Public! Fund Education campaign to improve status and conditions

published 25 March 2024 updated 26 March 2024

“The UN High Level Panel on the Teaching Profession recommendations are universally relevant, addressing teacher issues in Cameroon and elsewhere.”

Inspired and motivated by the recommendations of UN High Level Panel on the Teaching Profession which call for adequate and equitable funding for education and for well-qualified and well-supported teachers as an investment in the quality and sustainability of education systems, Cameroon’s teachers are set to take their Go Public! Fund Education campaign efforts to a new level.

Against a backdrop of chronic underinvestment in education - at only approximately 3.16% of GDP and 14% of the national budget, Cameroon’s education budget is well short of the UN recommended minimum 6% of GDP and 20% of the national budget - leaders of Education International’s affiliates in Cameroon - Fédération Camerounaise des Syndicats de l'Education (FECASE), Fédération des Syndicats de l'Enseignement et de la Recherche (FESER) and Syndicat des Travailleurs des Etablissements Scolaires Privés du Cameroun (SYNTESPRIC) - pledged to work closely together to become even stronger in their united campaign to achieve a greater investment in teachers and education.

The lack of investment in teachers has resulted in a decline in teacher salaries relative to other professions, an increase in precarious employment and as a consequence a lack of respect for the teaching profession. This situation is fuelling an exodus of teachers from the profession, growing the shortage of qualified teachers. The unions are responding by organising and advocating for an increase in financing for quality public education and to improve the status of the teaching profession.

For FESER General Secretary Roger Kaffo, "the status of teachers in Cameroon has been economically, socially, and symbolically deteriorating for years. With the same number of years of higher education training, their salaries are three times lower than the salaries of other professions."

He believes that the UN High Level Panel recommendations are a powerful tool for advocacy across sectors. "Parents who attended our latest event on the UN recommendations were struck by their quality and began to think about how they could work together with teacher unions. And we are starting to use the recommendations in our advocacy actions vis-à-vis the government," he added.

The EI campaign, Go public: Fund Education!, provides teacher unions with "an extraordinary opportunity", because the unions have a proposal in which they can lead and take the initiative, Kaffo noted.

As part of their participation in the Go Public! Fund Education campaign, FECASE, FESER and SYNTESPRIC will engage the wider membership at union capacity buildings in each of the country’s 10 regions. They will also liaise with key stakeholders including parent and teacher associations and other civil society organisations.

Go Public! Fund Education campaign led by Education International, is an urgent call for governments to invest in public education, a fundamental human right and public good, and to invest more in teachers, the single most important factor in achieving quality education. This includes guaranteeing labour rights and ensuring good working conditions, as well as manageable workloads and competitive salaries for teachers and education workers. It also means valuing teachers, respecting teachers ensuring they are central to decision-making, and trusting their pedagogical expertise.