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Paul Biya Revisits Controversial Decree Reorganising GCE Board After Anglophone Outcry.

By Jonas Ashu – Tuesday March 5, 2019.

Paul Biya Revisits Controversial Decree Reorganising GCE Board After Anglophone Outcry.

Paul Biya is 86 and Cameroon’s President since 1982.

Cameroon’s President Paul Biya, 86 signed a decree Monday March 4, 2019, readjusting some issues of decree No 2018/514 of 22 October 2018, which sanctioned changes at the General Certificate of Education (GCE) Board prompting outcry across the North West and South West Regions that, the Anglo-Saxon foundation of the institution was being threatened.

In the new decree read over state media same Monday, March 4, the president has responded to worries from stakeholders in the Anglophone Education sector on the absence of certain categories of persons in the board.

The new presidential action makes bold the presence of representatives from the Parent Teacher Association (PTA), public and private schools and the Vice Chancellor of the University of Buea as statutory members of the board, National Telegraph gathered. Representatives of the parents and the other education stakeholders will be elected by their peers, the decree states.

The absence of these stakeholders was amongst the major worries that rattled English-speaking Cameroonians leading to the fear that the credibility of the board was under threat. In the October decree, the board members had been slashed from 17 to seven.

A local media organ, National Times, weeks after the publication of the decree, representatives of five teachers’ trade unions; the Cameroon Teachers Trade Union (CATTU), the Presbyterian Education Authority (PEATU), the Catholic Workers Trade Union (CEWOTU), the Baptist Teachers’ Trade Union (BATTUC) and the Teachers Association of Cameroon (TAC) petitioned the presidential action asking for adjustments.

On November 21, 2018, the Minister of Secondary Education Dr. Pauline Nalova Lyonga engaged the teachers’ trade unions, GCE board authorities and his collaborators to calm nerves over the issue during a meeting in Yaoundé.

The March 4 decree putting the Vice Chancellor of the University of Buea as a member of the board was one of the key concerns at that meeting. Then, participants had observed that; “the vice chancellor of the University of Buea was a very important personality in the set up by virtue of the functions of vetting and ensuring the standard and quality of all examinations”.

During that meeting, they reached a truce for the rotatory appointment of members of the other education stakeholders into the board while the Vice Chancellor was agreed to be an ex-officio member of the board and the Examination Executive Council (ECC).

President Biya’s decision four months after the October decree was subjected to public scrutiny is seen as an action meant to right the ‘wrongs’ of the first decree and address the concerns raised by Anglophones The National Times reported.

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