Dear members of the education community
A school year has just ended, a new one is about to begin. We are going back to school, answering thus, the clarion call of the people for the resumption of the 2017-2018 school year. Therefore, it is with real pleasure that I uphold the tradition which requires that in such circumstances, I address you, to draw a balance sheet of the previous academic year before giving you an overview of the school year to begin.
The 2016-2017 school year experienced serious upheavals in some regions of our beloved country. Indeed, a strike movement that was initiated by some trade union organizations in the North West and South West Regions disrupted the conduct of school activities. These difficulties compromised the achievement of the objectives we had set, particularly with regard to the increase in the success rate in various examinations. While results in the examinations organised by the Department of Examination and Certification and to a lesser extent, examinations organized by the Office du Baccalaureat du Cameroun (OBC) significantly reached targeted objectives, this was unfortunately not the case with the GCE BOARD examinations results.
Indeed, the success rates of examinations organized by the Department of Examinations and Certification moved from 52.08% in 2016 to 55.59% in 2017, i.e. a 3.51% increase rate ; those of the Office du Baccalaureat du Cameroon examinations rose by only 1.19%, moving from 40.99% in 2016 to 42.08% in 2017. These rates witnessed a drop in the GCE Board examinations, moving from 61.88% in 2016 to 29.21% in 2017, i.e. a variance of minus 32.67%.
It is worth noting here that the Ministry of Secondary Education has never given up before the numerous obstacles that have continuously hampered the proper execution of its actions. Thus, measures were taken to allow students in examination classes to complete their school programmes so as to write their certificate examinations serenely. Catch-up classes were held during the second and third terms of the previous academic year. It is, therefore, a high moment for me to pay tribute to the determination of all those who have enabled us to complete the previous school year serenely. I am thinking of teachers, parents and students who, braving threats, violence and intimidation, have continuously fulfilled their exalting mission and have allowed a peaceful organisation of the 2017 examination session. Their efforts, their courage, their sense of duty deserve to be quoted as example. Indeed, they have demonstrated their patriotic faith, their ability to fight the right fight against the forces of destabilization and division. Thanks to these men and women, students in the North West and South West regions escaped the torments of a lost year.
In that same vein, I deplore and denounce at the same time the excesses from the trade union leaders which have seriously harmpered the education of our youth. Indeed, as the President of the Republic, His Excellency Paul BIYA, highlighted in his address to the Cameroonian Youth on 10 February 2017: “It is unacceptable to hold the education and future of our children hostage, in the vain hope of pushing through political demands.” While the right to strike is legitimate, the right to education is even more so. It is a fundamental right. ”
We must relentlessly continue our efforts to ensure quality education to our children. It is through education that our youth will become the driving force of the emergence of our country. Our commitment to the education of our youth must therefore, once again, be absolute.
In this regard, it is more than ever, urgently necessary not only to work to raise the success rates in official examinations, but also to give our young compatriots the means that will enable them exercise their citizenship to the fullest. To achieve this, we must successfully meet numerous but exalting challenges that will come our way.
Therefore, in view of all these considerations, I have chosen as the theme of the 2017/2018 school year: “Second-Generation Secondary Education for the Training of Citizens Capable of Promoting Bilingualism, Multiculturalism and Living Together”.
Such an orientation, already expressed in Article 15 of Law No. 98/004 of 14 April 1998 on the Orientation of Education in Cameroon, meets our firm determination to engage our learners in the culture of civic values, guarantee of a Cameroon proud of its diversity, its rich cultural heritage and by taking great advantage of the harmony between its children. Through the terms “bilingualism”, “multiculturalism” and “living together”, this theme reflects our determination to promote the spirit of tolerance, to inculcate knowledge, know-how that is, a culture, a civic and moral conscience, to our learners so that our school carries out, better than before, all its missions. This school must therefore prepare all students to be responsible citizens, able to contribute to the development of a democratic, united and pluralistic society, open to all cultures.
In fact, to be able to play its part in the concert of nations, Cameroon must count on a dynamic and well-trained youth. Hence the concept of “second generation secondary education”, which aims to equip our economic structure with a human capital capable of supporting its growth. Thus, we must continue to reorganise our educational system in order to ensure a better match between training and employment. Professionalisation, backed by bilingualism and the mastery of ICTs, will undoubtedly help our learners to integrate effectively in an increasingly competitive socio-professional environment.
This vision will be achieved through:
- The development of technical and vocational specialties with the speeding up of the construction works of the Technical and Vocational High Schools of Agriculture in Yagoua and Lagdo;
- The development of the heavy trucks – automotive- mechanics through the equipment of workshops at the Government Technical High Schools Bamenda Nkwen, Bertoua Kpokolota, Figuil and Ngaoundéré;
- The equipment of 3 metal sheet – mechanical engineering workshops at Government Technical High Schools Édea, Kribi and Limbe;
- The equipment of the industrial chemistry workshops of Government Technical High Schools Nkolbisson and Bafoussam;
- The equipment of surveyor-topographer workshop of Government Technical High Schools Bafia and Kumba;
- The equipment of the sawing-sharpening workshop of the Government Technical High School Nkongsamba;
- The setting up of training courses in film industry specialties;
- The continuous construction of Government Technical High Schools Nsam, Maroua and Ombé;
- The setting up of the Technical and Vocational High School of Building Construction and Public Works in Ekounou;
- The gradual setting up of technical bilingual secondary schools;
- The creation of government industrial and commercial technical secondary schools with agriculture option;
- The setting up of the tannery and leather works specialties at the Government Technical High School Maroua;
- The continuous setting up of the IT series in government and private general education schools to meet job opportunities offered by ICTs.
Other initiatives closely linked to the requirements to professionalise education and to implement multiculturalism are being considered or are under way. This means the effective opening, from the start of this school year, of the tourism specialty in three Government Technical High Schools based in Yaounde, Maroua and Dschang respectively, the setting up of Government Vocational High schools of Hotel Management and Tourism in Kribi and Limbe. These schools, dedicated to tourism, will train our learners to value our rich cultural and ecological heritage.
In addition, a Technical and Vocational High School of Agriculture will be created in each region as well as Government Technical and Vocational high schools appropriate to the various agro-ecological areas. The new orientation we wish to give to our educational system is not without compensation.
From now on, we must put forward internal control, self-assessment, teamwork, professionalism and above all, tolerance in carrying out our duties, whatever they may be. I therefore call for a high sense of duty and responsibilities from the various stakeholders of the education scene.
Distinguished Inspectors and Pedagogic Advisers,you are responsible for the follow-up, management and close pedagogic supervision. Under this report, I therefore recommend you to:
- Be regularly present on the field;
- Ensure the effectiveness of formative assessments so as to improve the quality of teaching;
- Ensure that programme coverage and success rates are improved.
- Organise teacher training sessions, taking care to avoid wastage of teaching hours.
As for you, Heads of schools, cornerstones of our educational system, I call on you to:
- Intensify measures to control punctuality and attendance of teachers;
- Ensure scrupulous respect of texts relating to teaching tasks of administrative officials;
- Systemize internal pedagogic dialogue and class visits;
- Create conducive conditions for learning and intellectual development by making school infrastructure welcoming by keeping the school premises clean.
- Ensure the effective acquisition of materials and the adequate equipment of libraries, laboratories and specialized rooms;
- Promote artistic education through the creation and running of Clubs, the organization of “Open Doors”;
- Develop partnerships with companies;
- Focus on discipline, safety of goods and people;
- Promote the well-being of all staff by raising awareness on registration into MUPES (Secondary Education Staff Fund for Mutual Assistance) through talks;
- Impulse multiculturalism and living together values within your schools.
Distinguished promoters and founders of private schools, your contribution to the training of Cameroonian youth is undeniable. I urge you to:
- Respect the texts in force concerning the organisation and functioning of private education;
- Take all necessary measures to support professionalization, while ensuring the safety of learners.
Distinguished teachers, you are the masterpiece of the educational system, given the central role you are called upon to play; You must be fully aware of this on a daily basis. I therefore exhort you to:
- Lay particular emphasis on the objectives of professionalization, the qualitative and quantitative coverage of teachings;
- Improve your classroom practices;
- Innovate by creating discussion groups, fora, blogs by class or discipline masters in order to deal with educational issues and fight against the perverse effects of ICTs.
- Raise students’ awareness on ethical values in order to involve them in the fight against corruption and terrorism;
- Lay special emphasis on formative assessments whose remediation sessions might help increase academic success rates.
Dear students, you are the key factor of the emergence of Cameroon. Take the full measure of the sacrifices made by the Nation for your education. Your success depends on it;
Avoid the destruction of national symbols, discouragement, examination fraud, the use of drugs and narcotics, and deviances of all kinds.
Dear Parents, we expect you to be more involved in the life of our schools and in the pedagogic and disciplinary follow-up of our children.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Members of the Education Community, this year’s theme is appealing to all of us.
While reiterating the availability of the Government to assist you in carrying out your respective tasks, I once more encourage you and wish you a successful 2017-2018 school year.
Long live the Ministry of Secondary Education,
Long live Cameroon and its illustrious Leader President Paul Biya!
Jean Ernest MASSENA NGALLE BIBEHE
Minister of Secondary Education