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Teachers Trade Unions Count Losses, Demand For Peaceful Resolution Of Armed Conflict

By Nadesh E

The leaders of the different teacher’s trade unions in Cameroon have condemned all acts of violence, disrespect for human rights and wanton killings that have preoccupied the northwest and southwest regions of Cameroon since the onset of the Anglophone crisis in 2016.

In a press release published by leaders of CATTU, CEWOTU, DEATTU, BATTUC, and TAC after their meeting in Bamenda on August 28, 2020. They acknowledged that some of their demands of 2016 have been solved by the State. Hence, calling on the government and separatist fighters to yield to their (Teachers Trade Union) request for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

Signatories of the Press Release

Leaders of:

  1. The Cameroon Teachers’ Trade Union, CATTU
  2. Teachers’ Association of Cameroon TAC
  3. Presbyterian Education Authority Teachers’ Trade Union, PEATTU, 
  4. Catholic Education Writer Trade Union, CEWOTU
  5. Baptist Teachers’ Trade Union, BATTUC

In the release, the leaders have presented statistics of how many teachers and students have lost their lives as a result of the crisis and as such demanded for the following

Teachers Trade Unionists’ demands

1. That in the name of the God/Allah who owns all life, such inhumanity of man to fellow man, meted especially by brother on brother, should stop forthwith because such wanton assaults, destruction and killings only breed rancour and deep-seated hatred thus perpetuating the by them. We send out a resonant prayer that all compatriots promoting the ongoing insurgency from bases at home or abroad should, each in their individual consistency, resolve to stop playing “ringods”  toying with and wrecking lives like is the case now because the consequences for future community interaction are alarmingly apocalyptic.

2. That government should continue to explore ways of reaching out to the parties in the ongoing conflict and of addressing the grievances that provoked the crisis in the first place. Governance is always ongoing, with a development-oriented vision.

3. That the military and security should continue sourcing for ways to actually secure the beleaguered populations and communities and to make tact and restraint their philosophy in every action of theirs, especially vis-à-vis the civilians who consciously or unconsciously play buffer- that will at least show the difference between the professionals they are and the rag-tag armed men they are called upon to tango with every now and then.

4. That all those standing in the way to give peace a chance and allow deprived, nay, sacrificed children return to school, and their teachers to resume their functions in an atmosphere of peace and security, given that education is the springboard for any form of development and because school boycott as a grievance-expressing measure cannot go on ad infinitum. Yes, permit us to assert categorically that education remains the key to success and human development.

These are leaders who led the peaceful protests in 2016 against the degrading nature of the English subsystem of education. These trade unions had called for a school boycott on November 21, 2016 in protest of what they considered the ‘francophonisation’ of the Anglo-Saxon system of education in Cameroon.

 In 2016, Tasang Wilfred, Executive Secretary General of CATTU on behalf of others demanded that Francophone student teachers be barred from practising on Anglophone students,  and the withdrawal of Francophone teachers from Anglophone schools and also the withdrawal of Anglophone teachers from Francophone schools.

“From the onset of the strike, we did not contend that our educational system was totally bad; we indicated a number of lapses and biases that needed to be done away with for our enviable system to continue to gain in quality and ascendancy. We equally assert that a good number of those issues have been righted and we cannot assess the good faith and equity of their implementation to good measure if we do not allow for schools to resume fully” they explained.

From peaceful protest to bloody and now the demanding of a separate State combining the northwest and southwest regions, called Ambazonia, is now the talk of the conflict. It seems, the situation is already out of the teachers hands having not only an educational but political and socio-cultural tone.

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