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GCE Board Should Organise Public Service Exams-Teachers’Unions 

By Chris Mbunwe

The Presbyterian Education Authority Teacher Trade Union, PEATU, the Catholic Education Workers Trade Union, CEWOTU, and the Teachers Association of Cameroon, TAC, on April 6, issued a joint communiqué appealing to the Head of State, President Paul Biya, to, as a matter of urgency, cancel the “substandard and arbitrary nature of the translated version of the competitive entrance examination for Anglophones in the recent recruitment of police officers.|”

The memo, signed by PEATU President – Stephen AfuKwah, CEWOTU President – Michael Kimfon, and TAC President,Valentine NfonTameh, pointed out that the “shortcomings” and “aberrations” noticed in the student inspectors’ examination questions poorly translated could have been the same ailment suffered by other police entrance examinations.

“Your Excellency, permit us point out the following to you; that the examination lacked instructions that usually guide candidates to answer examination questions with accuracy, and the absence of weighting for all the questions further degraded the endeavour. Secondly, the title “Sujet en Franςais”, which did not convey any meaning in French, was shoddily translated into English to give the howling, meaningless; “Subject in English”.

The executive bureaus of these trade unions are angry that the “Questions were poorly translated into English and this was compounded by a stilted, general incomprehensible phraseology”.

At the level of student-inspectors, the trade union leaders are convinced that the examination was sub-standard and lacked reproducibility by this; itmeans that if candidates were subjected to the same examination over and over, the results would not be reliable especially as the questions were arbitrary to a great measure.

“Your Excellency, such shortcomings and aberration in public examinations give the impression to the world that Cameroonians in positions of authority do not bother to respect issues of national identity. There is every indication that those who set these public examinations, by always deliberately choosing to flout our official policy of bilingualism, thus deliberately mocking our country’s cherished Constitution, are enemies of the nation. It cannot be gainsaid that these poor translationare always deliberately meant to fail Anglophone candidates who go in for these examinations,” reads the memo.

The teachers’ leaders say their frustration is exacerbated by the silence of the highest authorities of the land in the wake of repeated cries over such shoddy translations; Polytechnic Yaounde, HTTTC and HTTC Bambili, ENSET Douala as well as the Probatoire, CAP and Baccalaureate examination for Anglophones,among an endless list.
While appealing to Biya to set up a team to probe the issues presented to him, the teachers belief that Cameroonians in top positions are not patriotic enough.

For that reason, “We call for a total cancelation of the said examination, the only thing that will soothe our decent nationalistic sensibilities. We, Anglophones, are tired of being taken for granted and treated with injustice and bad faith in our fatherland,”the memo concluded