OCHA’s report on the guarantee of education to children in Cameroon

Children at school Children at school Annie Spratt on Unsplash

2 December 2021

Continuing violence by non-State armed groups (NSAGs) threatens children's safety and access to education in Cameroon

In its recent release, the United Nations Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) deals with the impact of violence on children's education in the North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon, reporting on NSAGs’ attacks on schools, students, and teachers. Furthermore, eight students were kidnapped, harassed, humiliated, and finally released in Bamenda town. The groups also kidnapped five public school principals in the Ngo-Ketynjia division, killing one of them.

Further to the declaration of a general lockdown from 15 September to 2 October 2021 by a non-State armed group, banning, work, social activities, and basic services, such as health and education, nearly all schools and community learning spaces were closed, and only a few schools in urban areas were able to operate however only at 60 percent of their capacity. As a consequence of the lockdown, learning had shifted to non-formal activities, such as the radio education programme; only 31 percent of the children enrolled in primary schools had access to education in the North-West region and only 25 per cent in the South-West.  In addition, the suspension of humanitarian activities, except for ambulances for medical emergencies, deprived 200,000 persons of access to food.

The crises in the North-West and South-West are however not the only ones affecting the country's overall stability, which also faces conflict in the Far North, and a refugee crisis caused by people fleeing the Central African Republic. In recent visit, the Secretary-General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, Jan Egeland, and the Director of Education Cannot Wait (ECW), Yasmine Sherif, highlighted the importance of guaranteeing the safety and education of children in Cameroon. Following the visit, ECW, in collaboration with UN agencies, the Norwegian Refugee Council and other civil society partners set up a program eventually amounting to USD 50 million want to address the crisis.  



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Author: Pietro Mattioli


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