By Sharon Techu
October 5, 2020 marked the beginning of the 2020/2021 academic year in Cameroon.
This year’s school resumption was particularly special, as pupils and students who have been away from school, longer than usual, headed back to their classrooms. The long break was forced by the outbreak of the coronavirus that grounded school activities and shutdown most nations and states around the world.
In Cameroon, despite the anxious and long awaited back to school programme, parents and teachers are still in doubt as concerns the effective resumption of schools in the crisis-hit English speaking regions of the country. The crisis forced students and pupils out of school, and was intensified by separatists’ campaign of a no school policy used as a tool for political demands.
The crisis which has now persisted for four years has kept most schools closed throughout the affected regions. However, some separatist leader have come out in favour of the back-to-school campaign, but not all leaders have accepted. Those against school resumption claim that education will not go on effectively in the midst of constant gunfights.
Meanwhile, some of the separatist leaders backing the school resumption campaign have given conditions to be fulfilled before classes kick off effectively. The separatists have demanded that no government school will function, and also that the French language will not be taught in schools. They have also stated that there will be no classes on traditional Monday ghost town days.
This year’s school resumption coincided with the International teacher’s day celebrated under the theme, “Teachers: leading in crisis, reimagining the future.”
Days before the official resumption of classes, the Cameroon government alongside the various education ministries, assured Cameroonians that all measures have been put in place to ensure that students are safe as the country battle the COVID-19 outbreak.
So far, Cameroon has recorded over 20 thousand cases with over 400 deaths since the outbreak of the virus.