By Bouddih Adams
Some education civil society organisations, ECSOs, in the Southwest Region, recently launched a campaign for fee-free or feeless education for preschool and nursery children.
The CSOs marshalled the campaign for free preschool and nursery education and the decolonisation of education to the Southwest regional administration, regional Delegates of education, regional finance administrators, municipal administrators, lawmakers, policy-makers of the Southwest Region.
The CSOs are operating within the framework of the Global Action Week for Education, GAWE, in collaboration with the Cameroon Network for Education for All, which is working with the African Network for Education for All and in respect of the UN Sustainable Development Goal 4. The CSOs’ delegation to the various officials is led by Shufaï Benjamin Sekferm, CEO of People Earthwise, PEW.
Presenting the essence of the advocacy to the Regional Delegate for Secondary Education, Dr. Hannah Etonde Mbua, Shufaï said: “Our campaign is Government should increase the budget for education and that financing of education be decolonised. We are also campaigning that if the fees for basic education cannot be dropped completely, it should be reduced to the barest minimum so that every parent can afford it.”
Dr. Etonde Mbua, in addition to her reaction, said: “You have all my encouragement to sensitise children who dropped out of school due to the crisis to go back to school, because, what will be their future? Use your CSOs to ask people to send their children to school.”
The educationist also asked the CSOs to campaign against holiday classes and child labour. She, however, said parents can use holiday periods to teach their children some art crafts and trades, some skills-giving handwork and how to do house chores.
The Delegate and the CSOs discussed the issue of the Minimum Package, which sometimes comes too late, if not little.
The Delegate for Basic Education, Rose Elangwe Mbome, told the CSOs: “I am so happy with your concern about children. It is good you started with the Minister. Then, you are going to the Governor, because, he is our boss in the Region. So that when he calls us together, we can have what to present to him. If education is left in the hands of the Government alone, we will not meet up.”
The Delegate for Vocational Training, Orock Thomas, thanked the CSOs for their interest in education. “We are ready to get involved in any activity that you engage us in. Vocational education is good because it arms young people with skills that can be their source of living,” he said.
The Treasurer Paymaster General of the Southwest, Ananias Angoula Mbassi, welcoming the CSOs, said: “We all know what education is. It is important to everyone. Without education, I don’t know what humanity would be today. We know education is costly, but parents should give better life to their children, the government also has to play its role. It is true that education should have a good share of the budget.”
The next port of call of the education CSOs is the Governor’s Office, the Regional Council and Mayors.