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Société Construire la démocratie à partir des problématiques locales - Retrieving And Consolidating Values Of Anglo-Saxon Educational System

Construire la démocratie à partir des problématiques locales - Retrieving And Consolidating Values Of Anglo-Saxon Educational System

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Index de l'article
Construire la démocratie à partir des problématiques locales
Democracy and the Minority Problem in the Domain of Education in Cameroon
Retrieving And Consolidating Values Of Anglo-Saxon Educational System
A chronological synopsis of the attempts at assimilating or annihilating the English Subsystem of Education in Cameroon
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Retrieving And Consolidating Values Of Anglo-Saxon Educational System
A Pre-requisite for an Emerging Cameroon in 2035
There is a general concern and public desire to see Cameroon emerge in 2035. The country and her citizens have a right to this concern and desire. But we must also honestly realize that emergence in our world today is neither acquired by sheer wish nor by articulate political platitudes. It must be accompanied by deliberate, cool headed, and clinical examination of actual facts and skillful planning.
This paper is inspired by the thesis that the future of any country depends very much on the quality of education that she has put in place. And anyone who does not care about the future should never be given husbandry of the present. We can do nothing about our past except to use it to plan our future in the present. These days in an era of Information Technology, the world has been so reduced to a global village that no one can pretend to operate alone in his own cocoon. In fact, we operate in such a social network today that one either identifies with the technical know-how that is required or be considered redundant. As part of this network, the future of this country does not depend very much on what we say as what we do today to align ourselves with the global flow of events, albeit without sacrificing our identity as Africans in general and Cameroonians in particular.
Most Cameroonians, including the President of the Republic, have had the occasion to lament about the manner in which our country is running itself in a world that is mercilessly competitive; and uncompromisingly looking for merit and know-how.
This paper shares in these worries but wants to go beyond by identifying a few key elements in our present educational system, if we have any, that need urgent surgery if we are not going to bleed quietly to death. We equally assumes that the verifiable fact of so many of our Francophone parents who are now prepared to do anything to send their children to study in Anglophone Cameroon, is a tacit approval of some basic educational values that they recognize and which they want to afford to their offspring. We are of the opinion that rather than offer these values to a privileged few, that our educational system be restructured in such a way as to engage some fundamental principles on which a typical Anglo-Saxon education is based. To do this we need to retrieve and consolidate these same values which are in the danger of being eroded in Anglophone Cameroon given a rather sinister and uncomfortable manner in which we are quietly trying to suppress the only values that we all need to emerge. What are these values that we are alluding to?

I- Some basic values of Anglo-Saxon education
There are many of these values that could be mentioned here but we shall concern ourselves with 5 of the most outstanding. First that Education is primarily meant to bring up a person to become more human, therefore it must be holistic. Secondly, that education by nature is for life and must entail the learning of life-skills. Thirdly, that merit is paramount in education and only those who work hard can expect a reward.
Fourthly, that education must produce good citizens not moral criminals; and finally, that good teachers are an absolute necessity towards achieving good education.
a) Holistic Education: The human being is a bi-unity of body and soul; the physical and the spiritual; the banal and the sacred. Therefore education must aim at bringing up all these compartments of the human being. An educational system that narrows itself to getting qualifications by hook or crookery, is very likely to open itself to the greatest truants to succeed in areas where they have no place. And this is an area of Anglo- Saxon that was taken great care of because in all schools and at all levels, emphasis was always equally laid on the intellectual and moral formation. From Primary to tertiary education, Anglo-Saxon education gives as much stress on the empirical sciences as it does with the sublime subjects of Religious Knowledge and studies, precisely because the human being is both an empirical and religious animal. Whatever we say in this country, unless we are able to form good consciences from the primary school through all levels of education, we shall continue to churn out the educated crooks that have become an embarrassment to us all.

II. Education for Life
Education in Anglophone Cameroon was also dispensed with a view to helping students adapt well to real life. The economic future of this country lies largely in the agricultural sector. Therefore in most schools in Anglophone Cameroon, there were always school gardens and farms; times for manual labour and these were supervised by an expert who showed the children how to work. There was a period for handwork and the teachers supervised their children learn new skills or perfect the talents they had. Today, a lot of this has changed and we have given our children, the impression that all must get a white collar job.
This is as impossible as it is an illusion. We need to get our children know the reality of our economy and love agriculture. Furthermore, the present world has irretrievably become digital; and in a digital world, one either knows or he does not know. Favoritism, nepotism and all weird ...isms that we have adopted do not have a place anymore. They did not have in an Anglo-Saxon system; and they must not be invited into it either.

III. Meritocracy
A good number of us reached where we are today, thanks to an Anglo-Saxon system which privileged and rewarded merit and hard work. Scholarships were given to students who worked hard and achieved much. The best found themselves in professional and sensitive schools. Today, no one seems to understand what is happening when a student who passes with distinctions is pushed to the background and some nonentity is given all the opportunities that he will hardly make use of. This attitude completely contradicts and compromises our desire to want to emerge in 2035. As long as we continue to promote mediocrity at the expense of great talent, we shall keep stagnating and the beautiful ones will never be born. No coach expects to win a serious football match by putting aside his best players!

IV. Good Citizenship
Anglo-Saxon education aimed at producing conscientious and good citizens who thought more about the common good than personal interest. It was clear to every school child that anyone caught cheating during exams, that one who stole, or was brutal towards others would be sanctioned. Every school child knew that there were certain words that one did not use, that he needed to show respect towards his teachers and that he would be punished for late coming, lying and any immoral behaviour.
Today, our children have learned the opposite not only from their teachers but from their society. We make the matter worse by sparing the rod and spoiling the children!

V Professional Teachers
The great latinists often say: Nemo dat quod non habet - You cannot give what you do not have. It was this belief which made Anglophone Cameroon begin Teacher Training Colleges; and the condition for entry and training given there was such that only those who genuinely had the aptitude and vocation for teaching would survive. That is why the teacher was truly a teacher at all times and everywhere. He carried himself with a certain dignity and was respected by all and sundry. The village teacher was an example to emulate and he did his duty both within and without the school. We can only look back with nostalgia at the days of the village HM and class teacher. Today, a good number are in the teaching field by accident, and teachers who do the greatest service to this country are among the least appreciated in terms of salaries and allowances. What else can we expect?

VI. The Way Forward
Our situation is not yet one of despair. We can still turn the pendulum if we are sincerely eager to bequeath a good country to the generation coming after us. When one gets out of this country and sees the talent and high profile technicians that this country has, one can only Cry the Beloved Country. There are young Cameroonian educationists who are delivering the goods in Uncle Sam's country and in the land of the Kiazer and in the Gulag Archipelago of Mao Tse Tung. If they have run away from their country, it needs to be a worry to us all. We can only attract them back if we decide to reward merit and give it a chance.
Furthermore, we tend to politicize everything in this country, including Education which should be the most apolitical arena anywhere in the world. Appointments in any educational system must of necessity be based on competence, never to reward party loyalty or affiliation. Unless we are prepared to face this demon that is raging so freely in our land, all our interest about emerging in 2035 will probably be a still birth when the time comes.
Our hope in this country still lies in the confessional or Mission Schools. Without any doubt, they produce the best that we can still hope for in the future. But their situation is compromised by the salary situation of their teachers and the teaching conditions and limited nature of how many students they can take. Very few of the poor can afford to send their children to these schools. Is there no way by which Government can either pay all Mission teachers or send teachers on secondment to these schools for the greater good of the country? In the former Anglo-Saxon system, there was the grant in aid which made it possible for the Mission Schools to function effectively and well. Most of our ministers and elite today benefited from these schools. Is it possible that they could also let others benefit also?
Fr. Tatah Mbuy

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