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Home2019 IssuesIssue 467 - Nov 2019Cameroon Schools Stay Shut

Cameroon Schools Stay Shut

Education has come to a virtual standstill in the English-speaking regions of majority Francophone Cameroon. A new school year began on 2 September, but following attacks on schools, parents are too terrified to send their children.

What began in 2017 as a strike by Anglophone teachers and lawyers over the downgrading of English in schools and courts has escalated into a full-blown “language war”. Insurgents fighting for an independent state attacked schools – seen as a symbol of the Francophone state. Some schoolchildren have been abducted.

Government troops were posted to guard schools, but attacks only increased, and the policy was abandoned. Pro-government sources may also have been involved in school attacks, the Gazette understands.

Around 80 per cent of schools in the two Anglophone provinces are closed, according to Unicef. Some 74 schools have been destroyed and 600,000 children are receiving no education.

Cameroon’s President, Paul Biya, has announced a “national dialogue” aimed at resolving the crisis. However, opposition leader Maurice Kamto remains in prison and human rights lawyers recently held a national five-day strike over the torture of their clients in custody.

Image courtesy of NEEDPIX
Matt Salusbury
Matt Salusbury
MATT SALUSBURY, news editor and journalist, has worked for EL Gazette since 2007. He is also joint Chair of the London Freelance Branch of the National Union of Journalists and co-edits its newsletter, the Freelance. He taught English language for 15 years in the Netherlands, in Turkey, in a North London further education college and now as an English for Academic Purposes tutor, most recently at the London School of Economics. He is a native English speaker and is also fluent in Dutch.
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