Looking at Cameroon’s education policy one would imagine that elementary education (nursery and primary school education) is free, but that is not the case even in public schools. There is always one need or other to meet with money from parents and so parents would spend a minimum of 3,500 Francs CFA per pupil per year in public schools. One would also imagine that the Cameroon Government would make elementary education available to all children aged 4 to 11 years. However, the situation on the ground reveals that in spite of the many public schools opened in many communities, a number of communities still have no schools for the education of their children. Even where there are public schools, staffing is not guaranteed, since many a civil servant would want to be as close to the town centres as possible. In the rural areas it is commonplace to find a Class Six Public School with one officially assigned Government teacher who spends a maximum of one to two weeks in school every month, since he has to travel to and from the Regional Headquarters for his salary.
The Diocese of Kumbo is found in the North West Region of Cameroon. It is consists the Administrative Divisions of Bui and Donga Mantung. It has a total population of over 800,000 inhabitants, most of whom are peasant farmers. The Diocese of Kumbo is mostly rural. Since public schools are not very effective in rural Cameroon, the Diocese of Kumbo serves as a Partner of the Cameroonian Government in Education. In the 2010/2011 School Year the Diocese of Kumbo is running over 70 nursery schools with over 3,500 kids and 150 teachers, 120 primary schools with over 15,000 pupils and 550 teachers, and 15 colleges with over 4,000 students and 300 teachers. Throughout the territory of the Diocese of Kumbo, wherever we have a Class Six School we make sure that there are at least 4 teachers in the school.
It is necessary to note that the Diocese of Kumbo would have a lot more children in Catholic Nursery and Primary Schools if the fees were subsidised. We charge a maximum of 15,000 Francs CFA and a minimum of 8,000 Francs CFA per child per year for nursery and primary schools. The HIV/AIDS pandemic has hit our territory so hard that many children are left without parents to fend for them. Of the 18,500 children in our nursery and primary schools, over 2,500 of them are orphans and vulnerable children sponsored by goodwill donors from all over the world through the Kumbo Diocesan Family Life Office. Out of Catholic Schools there are still a lot more orphans and vulnerable children (estimated at 2,000) who cannot afford any form of education at all. It would be great if we had the means to provide a sound and integral education for these underprivileged children!
Parents in the territory of the Diocese of Kumbo find it very difficult to provide textbooks for their children. In spite of our endeavours to encourage them to buy books for their children, very few parents provide their children with books in the nursery and primary schools. This accounts for the poor reading skills of our children. We are indeed most grateful to Amom Charity for helping to provide our schools and children with some of the books that they need. Since April 2009 Amom Charity has sponsored the supply of Nursery Rhyme Books to all our nursery schools, provided the French Reader (Teacher’s Copy) for all our primary schools, given 126 copies of the English Reader (Children and Teachers’ Copies) each to two of our primary schools (Catholic School Roh-Bui and Catholic School Ndzengwev), approved the supply of 126 copies of the English Reader each to Catholic School Tabenken and Catholic School Binshua, and is currently considering the supply of a total of 1,050 English Readers for Catholic School Jakiri, Catholic School Melim, Catholic School Ngondzen, Catholic School Nkar, and Catholic School Tobin. This is definitely a great step towards improving the quality of education in rural Cameroon.
In my capacity as Education Secretary of the Diocese of Kumbo, I hereby express sentiments of profound gratitude to Mr. Afowiri Fondzenyuy Kizito for the wonderful vision he had to provide literacy to rural Cameroonian youths by creating Amom Charity. It is my firm prayer and hope that his initiative has received God’s blessing and will continue to attract many more generous hearts to contribute towards the provision of integral and sound education to less privileged children in Cameroon.
I might not have gold to offer, but I definitely have the ability to follow up the projects of Amom Charity in the Diocese of Kumbo and to make sure that generous and hard-earned donations of men and women of goodwill from all over the world reach the less privileged children who are found in this rather remote and inaccessible part of Cameroon. Thank you and God bless all your efforts to bring integral education to every child in rural Cameroon.