The last few days have been particularly difficult for me. This is probably because I am very passionate about education and as September approaches, I cannot bear the thought of Anglophone children staying out of school for another academic year.
I was mildly optimistic that the Anglophone leaders meeting in Washington DC over the weekend will make this a priority and pressure the Yaounde regime into some form of capitulation. As this did not happen, I was nursing my disappointment, I came across a Facebook post in which the person jocularly indicated that Anglophones were now going abroad to study in La Republique Du Cameroun.
Making reference to the ultimatum issued by Chris Anu, the Ambazonia Interim Government Communication Secretary, who gave till the end of May 2018, for Francophones to leave and advised Anglophones to come back home, this Facebook post pointed to the irony that the reverse was happening – Anglophones were rather going over to French Cameroon, to ensure the education of their children.
This trend should not in the least be surprising, given the importance placed on education within African societies. Education is seen as the only way out of poverty and the assurance of a better future. For parents, therefore, who have had their kids out of school for two years, this is as much a sacrifice as they can make.
The paradox of the situation, however, is that the Anglophone crisis began in 2016, in part, as a quest to stop the Francophonisation of English schools. By prolonging the school boycott strategy and forcing Anglophone families to send their kids into the French-Speaking zones, the policy is not only depriving the Anglophone region of financial resources, it is achieving the exact thing, the protests in 2016 sought to challenge.
The longer the school boycott strategy is in force, the more Anglophone providers of education suffer; the longer the strategy persists, teachers, especially those employed by the private sector, suffer and the more Anglophone Children find themselves at the heart of a French system of education.
I must state here, however, that this happens to be only the children of well-to-do families. The poorer children, whose parents cannot afford to send them to the French areas to study, will be left uneducated. This, therefore, creates another problem. A class distinction, in which the rich create opportunities for their kids, while the poor suffer the brunt of the school boycott approach. In the not too distant future, the rich will inevitably become richer, while the poor will remain servants thereby broadening the class distinction.