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Bilingual GCE Begins This Year 

The Cameroon GCE Board is evolving with the changing trends across the country and even beyond the frontiers. Following meticulous syllabus review mechanisms pursued in recent years and adequate preparation, the 2014 GCE Examinations will have a new element, the Bilingual GCE. After the May 6, 2014, take-off with the practical sessions, the Registrar, Cameroon GCE Board, Humphrey Ekema Monono, in an exclusive interview, says they are ready to deliver all the exams they will organise for the 2014 session and put in all what it takes to have a successful organisation. (Page 5)
How did the 2013 examinations session go for the Cameroon GCE Board?
It went on smoothly. Our only worry was that the public was not sensitised enough about the additional mode of publishing results by MTN. That was a good lesson for us and since then, we have stepped up our sensitisation campaign. We keep improving.
The 2014 examinations have taken off with the practical sessions, which started May 6, 2014. What are the echoes coming in, so far?
So far, so good! The materials they need are with the concerned persons. We are into the third practical subject. Next week, we will get into the fourth and fifth. The specimens are there and the candidates are working hand in glove with their supervisors.
What are the specificities on the ground?
A lot more vigilance, responsibility, show of citizenship to make the exams a Cameroonian culture, with a positive note and not negative practices. We should show good practices and no malpractices; no collusion between students themselves and the supervisors, less impersonation, time consciousness for all the stakeholders, examiners marking like they usually do with objectivity and serenity.
Are there new issues at the level of the exams?
New issues are coming up regularly. This year, we will begin with the Bilingual GCE. The practical sessions have been slated for May 15, 2014. It will be holding in 18 centres across the country, two of them in Fako Division; GBHS Limbe and GBHS Muea, there is GBHS Kumba and others. That will be a new subject partly introduced, our country being bilingual. It is a positive note towards that direction. Advanced Level English will be coming up next year or so. We are looking forward to introducing Citizenship. We are tailoring our exams towards the emergence of the country, the growth and strategic paper and professionalism.
How much preparations have been made for the Bilingual GCE?
A lot has been done and put in already. Following our traditions, we are taking over the exam when the Francophones have tested it. We have been preparing as the tradition demands; pre-test questions, be sure of the human resources and be sure that we can handle the exams before we go in for it. We do not just say yes, because it is a subject and go in without looking at our backyard and the necessary resources. We are sure about what we are doing.
How ready is Cameroon GCE Board for 2014?
Yes, we are ready! And we say a word of appreciation to our clientele, which includes transporters and even those who transport our materials by head load to some of our colleges. On behalf of the GCE Board Council, we thank these people in the background for their tremendous work. These are the people we do not see. We are warm about what they do to carry the GCE Board forward. We thank the media for their efforts in sensitising our stakeholders.
How do you manage the tracking by those who go by head load?
Leave that with the Board. We have our tracking system. You do not expect everybody to be part of it. Even security follows that up. Be sure that the materials get to their destination without blemish. 
The Cameroon GCE Board in recent weeks have been in the news. Has that impacted what you are doing now; the exams?
No, No!! That is an infrastructural issue. It has nothing to do with the running of the Board and examinations. We have been given a pat on the back for having a locus, from where we are operating safely. We are grateful to God.
Examination leakages have featured in recent years, how are you closing the holes?
Those are long forgotten stories about the GCE Board. Since I got to the Board, we are not talking about leakages. Students and parents are no longer into examination fraud. They are out to make the exams a success story for themselves. I do not know much about any leakages. 
What about hitches as you pursue your endeavours at the Board?
Running an exam session like what we are doing cannot be without some minor hitches or not having any difficulties. We have some difficulties but how we surmount them, makes us an Examination Board.  We begin from the test items, which some do not measure up or are prone with ambiguities. Some can be discarded even before you call in the Moderators and more. But we handle them with the right human resources and the teachers, invigilators, superintendents who are always there. However, our heads are high and you can compare the GCE Board with similar institutions out of Cameroon, who follow the Anglo-Saxon System. Our candidates go for good and perform in flying colours. We are ready for the exam. 
Have registration figures dropped or increased as compared to 2013?
The growth rate is about seven percent for all the exams we ran at the Board in 2013. However, we will be running JAMB under the Foreign Exams Unit. But now we are talking the GCE and in its entirety for all the exams we are running, we have a total of 164,789 Candidates above the 154,903 candidates we had last year. This year, we have 164,000, which is an increase of more than 9,000 candidates. That figure is challenging.
How are you managing it?
I managed the 64,000 candidates I inherited in 2006. I remember that in the 1970s, there used to be less than 15,000 candidates. Financially, not much has changed.
How will the publication of the results be done this year, so as to avoid the traffic jam we had last year with the electronic media?
The publication systems and styles will be maintained and improved upon. Everyone should be given an opportunity to find his or her results; written or spoken, published by newspapers and the new E-systems, which favours also those who failed the exams. What is published is only those who passed the exams. We should also carter for failures. Nobody reads and prepares those who have failed. When people fail the GCE, it does not mean they have failed in life. It could have been one orientation or two that was not in place.
It is assuring that the traditional media will have the results this year…
I owe the candidates their slips and their schools their results. The media is free to pick whatever they want to print from me. It is not boxed up in the drawers of GCE Board.
Any contract, conditions for them?
There is no condition; you pay the normal things you have been paying and you pick up your booklet or soft copies. The problem with the newspaper houses has been monopoly. We will not encourage monopoly when it comes to results. We will continue to give the media to read and publish. Now that we are getting to 164,000 candidates, you will imagine what it means reading and going to print a newspaper of 30 pages.
To the markers, what are you telling them?
Give them money and there will be no road blocks. But you have to inform them ahead of time if there will be no money, so that they are prepared that they will not have it in time. Presently, I am not certain if I will be able to pay all of that but we must communicate. If communication fails, then we must have those road blocks. Government will not only accept a debt, it will honour their engagements. So far, we do not owe anybody but our constraint is that subvention is not moving according to the number of candidates. As the candidates keep growing, we need a lot more financial attention. We might have some few hitches but it will not deter us from doing our work.
Advice to candidates, parents…
They should look at life and the world in a positive manner. Negativity does not help us. Exams are set by their teachers. They are not set by people from the moon. The books they are using are same books used by other candidates across the country. All they need to do is put in their all to perfect their grades and not pass the exams. I consider that they have already passed the exams since they have been preparing in the course of the year.
Interviewed by Walter Wilson Nana & Bouddih Adams