By Simon D
The armed conflict in Southern Cameroons has seen an exodus of thousands of, Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, into Francophone towns seeking education. With this influx, many unscrupulous and corrupt school administrators have resulted in reckless exploitation of these vulnerable persons. before gaining admissions into schools, they have to pay bribes of some times throat-cutting.
It has now become a role, in fact, a standard role, that IDPs seeking admission into primary and secondary schools in the towns of Bafoussam, Douala and Yaounde, in particular, are forced to pay bribes of some times amounting to 50,000Frs to secure admission. This is rampant in state-owned schools with low tuition attracting most IDPs. Principals of such schools are said to be making a fortune from these bribes. On the other hand, the proprietors of private schools have increased tuition. Parents who have cannot afford to pay risk having their kids seat back home.
There have also been alarming complaints from many IDPs looking for teaching jobs in these towns. Despite the tremendous increase in student enrollment and tuition, some proprietors have rather cut down staff salary.
IDPs who apply to teach in School’s bargain for their salary and in most cases are offered something below the so-called minimum wage rate. ” I went for an interview with a certain school in Douala where 4 teaching vacancies where advertised. When I got there, there were 84 applicants. All IPDs from the North-West and South-West regions. Each paid an interview fee of 1000frs. Those who got the job will be paid 35000frs monthly…” Said an IDP from the North-West.
In another instance, an IDP from the North-West narrated how he and two colleagues were told to resign when they complained (threatening to stop teaching the money is paid) about their 3 months unpaid salaries in a certain school in the West region. They eventually surrendered and left when the proprietor vehemently told them that there was no money to pay them and that do what they can do.
There are more of such abuses that have gone unreported, ranging from increases in house rents by some landlords specifically targeting IDPs to sometimes physical and verbal abuse from some misguided political radicals.