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Douala III Finally Distributes 

By Joe Dinga Pefok — Some 39 public primary schools in the SDF-run Douala III Council, have finally received the ‘minimum package’ given by the Government to public primary schools.

The SDF, which won the Douala III Council at the September 30, 2013 Municipal Elections, and took over the management of the council from the CPDM, had to go through the whole of the first term of the 2013/2014 academic year without the minimum package.

The Head Teachers of the different schools say they and their teachers went through a very difficult time without the minimum package and that they were at times forced to spend their private money to buy didactic materials like chalk that are needed each day in school, or to buy exercise books for teachers to prepare lesson notes. The minimum package that is provided by the state to public primary schools each academic year has, for the last few academic years, been handled by local councils.

This follows the transfer of competences by the Ministry of Basic Education, in line with Government’s policy of decentralisation. Normally, the minimum package is supposed to be distributed by the municipal councils to public primary schools in their different municipalities, at the beginning of each academic year, that is, in September or latest October.

The new Mayor of the SDF-run Douala Council, Theophile Job Kwapnang, who took over office in October, attributed the situation to the fact that the Council received the credit document for the minimum package, worth FCFA 10.5 million, late. Hence, the Mayor explained, the Council gave out the contract for the supply of didactic materials late. He said it was only on January 2, 2014, that the contractor delivered the materials to the council.

It should, however, be noted that all the five municipal councils in Douala received the credit documents for the minimum package late. But the Mayors of the other councils which are run by the CPDM, were able to acquire and distribute the minimum package to schools in the municipalities, during the first term.

At the Douala II Council, for example, Mayor Denise Fampou, who was re-elected, distributed the minimum package in her municipality in October. Apparently, Mayors who were re-elected employed their experience in office to quickly raise funds from other sources in the councils, to acquire the minimum package for their schools, while waiting for the credit documents from the State.

Mayor Job Kwapnang finally distributed the minimum package to the 39 primary schools in his Municpality on January 7 in the presence of the DO of Douala III. The anger of the Head Teachers over the very late distribution of the minimum package was seemingly assuaged by their happiness with the quantity of materials they received. They all remarked that, never in the academic years that the Council (then run by CPDM), did they receive such large quantities of didactic materials.  

First published in The Post print edition no 01495

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