The Paradox of #Anglophone Children Going to Study in French #Cameroon

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.

Importance of Education for Motivation - Jim rohn
Importance of Education for Motivation – Jim Rohn

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.

Education leads to Peace
Education leads to Peace

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.

Education is the sure means to a sustainable Future
Education is the sure means to a Sustainable Future

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.

Justice Ayah Paul Contends that School Resumption & Ending Of Hostilities are Mutually Inclusive

As the dust is about to settle on the just-concluded All Ambazonia Consultative Council (AACC) which held over the weekend in Washington DC, some people have been left underwhelmed, not least, Justice Ayah Paul Abine. In a post on his personal Facebook Page, the former Justice in a strongly-worded statement makes the case of why school resumption and cessation of hostilities were absolutely necessary. In my recommendations to the conveners of the conference, I had seven points that they could consider, among which were the declaration of a ceasefire and school resumption.

Justice Ayah Paul Abine
Justice Ayah Paul Abine

In that write-up, I was too optimistic and had treated both the issues of school resumption and cessation of hostilities, as mutually exclusive. I also made an argument that the call for hostilities to end could come from the Anglophone leaders. Ayah Paul has debunked this by arguing that the Cameroon government “cannot declare war and call on the adverse party to lay down their arms unilaterally.” and that the same government “cannot argue the case for a return to normalcy when [they] go killing people indiscriminately, including the most innocent”. After reading these logical arguments, I must admit that I was naive to assume that it was possible for such a solution to have come from the Anglophone leaders. Following therefore on the superior logic of Ayah, I will submit that ending of hostilities remains the responsibility of the Biya Regime.

The issue on which Ayah and I do agree on is the importance of education for the building of a sustainable future. Ayah argues clearly that:

…we owe posterity a collective duty to prepare those growing up to take the relay baton from us. Therefore, I am one with all those who hold that education is too invaluable to be toyed with. None of us would be doing with efficiency what we are doing today without education. It is absolutely self-defeating to prosecute for a better tomorrow and perpetrate simultaneously conduct that mars that very tomorrow.

The importance of education both as a human right and a conditio sine qua non for the sustainability of the Anglophone quest for freedom, having been established, the question remains as to how this can be achieved in an environment of conflict.

First off, we can all agree that school boycott has no impact on Biya, who has not placed any value on quality education in the 36 years he has been in power. If we agree on that, then we can also agree that Biya will never be moved by the declaration over the weekend, from the Anglophone leaders that schools should not resume. On the other hand, should the leaders of the opposing camp take up the challenge and highlight the importance of school resumption, they will automatically heap pressure on the regime, whose duty it is to ensure that children going to school are not put in harm’s way.

While reiterating therefore that the starting point for any calls for school resumption should be the cessation of hostilities, Ayah Paul goes on to declare that the Anglophone leaders have as much a responsibility as the Biya regime in making this happen. He argues that although the responsibility for ending the conflict lies with the regime, it is not a blank cheque for Anglophone leaders

…  at home and/or abroad [to] take refuge under continuing hostilities to stay formally resolute against the reopening of schools. My considered opinion is that we should leave the door open, thereby shifting the blame to those guilty of belligerency.

If the Anglophone leaders truly care about the future of the children at home, if they care about posterity and the sustainability of the quest for freedom, then they will surely be revisiting their resolution that schools should not reopen.

 

 

36 Reasons Why Biya Deserves to be Re-Elected President of #Cameroon

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Actually,  NONE