By Andrew Nsoseka
President Paul Biya has signed a Decree, reorganising the Cameroon General Certificate of Education Board, GCE Board.
Decree No2018/514 of 22 October also affected the structures and function of the Board.
In the new-look Board, the Head formerly called the Registrar will be referred to as Director General to be assisted by a deputy all appointed by the President of the Republic for a mandate of three years, renewable twice.
The Director-General and Deputy Director General, going by the Presidential decree, shall work under the supervision of the Board of Directors in carrying their administrative, financial and technical management of the Board.
Board Members Trimmed From 17 To 7 Members
Article eight of the Presidential Decree states that “The Board of Directors shall comprise seven (7) members including the Chairperson.”
Members of the Board, in the new dispensation will comprise, a representative of the Presidency of the Republic, a representative from the Prime Minister’s Office, a representative of the Ministry of Secondary Education, a representative of the Ministry of Finance, Representative of the Ministry of Higher Education and a representative of the staff of the Board, elected by their peers.
The Decree further states that “the Chairperson and Members of the Board of Directors shall be appointed by the Decree of the President of the Republic for a three (3) year term renewable once”
Major Significant Changes, Upsets
The Presidential Decree, reorganising the Board has caused some significant and even worrisome changes. Unlike before, there will be no representative of Parents Association. The new text does not also make provision for any teachers’ representative at the Board and that of various education secretariats of lay-private and denominational schools.
Another controversy is that GCE Boards worldwide are headed by Registrars unlike the case of Cameroon wherein it will be headed by a Director General and Deputy Director General.
Many have already taken offence on the issue of the non-representation of teachers’ unions, considered to be the group that fought and bled for the creation of the Board.
People have been quick in pointing out that the Board of Directors, eight in number, are all appointees from Government offices, apart from one who will be elected by GCE Board staff to represent them.
Also, there will be no representative from the University of Buea that used to play a significant part in the Board deliberations and co-signs Certificates issued by the Board.
Chapter 48 of the Presidential Decree states that “All previous provisions repugnant to this decree are repealed notably the provisions of Order No112/CAB/PM of 12 October 1993 to define and determine the administrative and financial organisation of the General Certificate of Education Board.”