Cameroon's minister of secondary education, Nalova Lyonga

Cameroon Teachers Protest, Seek Reinstatement of Corporal Punishment Amid Rising Violence

YAOUNDE VOA | Cameroon teachers are protesting what they say is growing violence against them by both students and their parents, and the teachers are urging the government to protect them and reinstate corporal punishment. The teachers say the absence of corporal punishment is encouraging abuse of teachers. This week, several attacks on teaching staffs were reported, including one in which a teenage student fatally stabbed his teacher, in the capital.

Students shout Saturday at a government-run school in Obala, a town on the outskirts of Cameroon’s capital, Yaounde, protesting the principal’s decision to destroy all mobile phones and knives seized from children Friday at the school. One of their senior discipline masters, Narcisse Ateba, says the students use mobile phones to access social media platforms that promote violence, and they also use sharp objects such as knives to attack their peers and teachers.

He says that some parents and students will want to harass or beat him up, but he has nonetheless decided to publicly destroy the 15 mobile phones found and seized by teachers from students Friday because it is illegal to use them in classrooms. He says he will not allow students to come to school with razor blades, box-cutters and knives.

The destruction of the mobile phones and the peaceful marches to administrative offices and palaces are part of protests by teachers at Obala against what they say are increasing acts of violence against them.

This week, a 16-year-old student at the public school Nkolbisson in a neighborhood in Yaounde is accused of using a knife to stab his mathematics teacher who died of excessive bleeding as he was being rushed to a hospital. The school said the student insisted on using his mobile phone in class against the teacher’s instruction. The student was arrested and detained by police, and will be answering to charges, including premeditated killing.

Another teacher this week was battered by students in Douala for questioning why they were late to school, and yet another teacher in Douala was beaten by a parent and fell into a coma. The parent was said to be angry with the teacher’s decision to use corporal punishment on his son as punishment for making noise in class. In another incident, a student used a machete to chop off another student’s finger in Obala after a fight during a soccer match.

Elvis Yisinyuy, an official with the Cameroon Teachers Trade Union in Yaounde, says attacks by students on teachers intensified in 2015 when Cameroon prohibited teachers from beating or severely punishing students.

“When a minister says that teachers are not supposed to administer corporal punishment to students, the student will now see that he [the minister] has the right to bring disorder because there is nothing the teacher can do in class,” said Yisinyuy. “The minister should revisit the text and permit teachers to administer corporal punishment with caution.”

Yusinyuy said the high wave of drug consumption by students and the inability of teachers to use corporal punishment because they have been prohibited from doing so is also responsible for the wave of attacks.

Nalova Lyonga, Cameroon minister of secondary education, says corporal punishment can not be tolerated because it is an abuse on the rights of students who are mostly children.

“What I have told the teachers is that they themselves have to make a distinction between a disciplinary case and a case which becomes a criminal case, and they should be able to report to the special police at the disposal of the schools,” said Lyonga.

Lyonga said Cameroon students are exposed to other cultures of the world because of the increasing use of mobile phones, and they gain access to social media platforms that promote violence, while neglecting the peace and unity that Cameroon traditionally preaches.

Carol Kayum, president of Reference Citizens, a non-governmental organization that promotes citizenship education, has been visiting schools in Yaounde to educate both teachers and students against violence. She says Cameroon should uphold it’s culture of non-violence to prevent the growing number of assaults on other students and teachers.

“Our cultures are rich. Parents should transmit them to children, and also there should be communication between schools and parents so that we know what our children are doing in school, and we also tell the school authorities what the children do at home,” said Kayum. “School authorities and parents should control the use of drugs.

Kayum said many people now join the teaching profession because they lack jobs, and not for the love of teaching, and as such, they are not loved by students.

The students also have complained they are harassed by some teachers whom they accuse of behaving poorly or not teaching well.

The Cameroon Ministry of Secondary Education has recorded 40 violent attacks by students on their peers, 22 attacks on teachers and 15 attacks by parents on teachers within the past month.

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16 comments

  1. As sad as it is, violence begets violence and we live in a country where violence is monopolised by the government who uses against its citizens with impunity. What we are seeing is a symptom of the moral depravity in our society as a whole and the solution is not entirely reinstating corporal punishment. The society has to come up with mechanisms to enable teachers have a more cordial relationship with students, instead of the tyrannical experience I faced when growing up. Secondly, a parent brutalising a teacher says it all about the source of the moral problem. They are the examples that kids copy. Corporal punishment in schools will only translate in future abuse at home because as adults we enshrine the idea learned from school that brutality is the solution to misdemeanour.

    • Africans For Donald Trump

      Ernest you can not compare the level of violence amongst youth in Cameroon with the level of violence amongst youth in the United States.

      The symptom of moral depravity that you claim to see in Cameroon society is nothing compared to the symptom of moral depravity we see in the US were a child can decide to take a machine gun to school any day and dozens of students.

      I agree that corporal punishment will not eliminate such acts of violence from sick individuals. There are sick individuals in every society and the solution is early identification of these sick individuals so that we can provide treatment to them before they act out!

  2. 1. LRC terrorists forced UB girls to drink and bathe in sewage water.
    2. LRC terrorists continue to perpetrate genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in SC
    3. The evil Dictator of LRC PUBLICLY vows to neutralise Southern Cameroonians
    4. etc

    Students see all these evils on social media. Aggression is a learned behaviour
    The students have learnt from LRC terrorists that aggression is acceptable behaviour in LRC

    • **** BREAKING NEWS ****

      Boko Haram kills five in Far North attack
      At least five persons have been killed in a fresh Boko Haram attack in the locality of Gongsoa, Kolofata Subdivision, Mayo Sava Division of the Far North Region of Cameroon.
      Local sources say the heavily armed attackers stormed the village late Sunday, January 19, 2020, killing five persons, mainly family heads and leaving others severely injured.
      The attack comes less than 72 hours after the minister of defence said the Boko Haram threat has been handled, and the focus of the army is on ensuring a hitch-free February 9th 2020 elections, especially in the North West and South-West regions.

      * MY TAKE *

      The FOOLISH decision to send all LRC terrorist soldiers to SC has come back to haunt LRC.

      THE FUTURE IS PREGNANT!!!

  3. Well, violence was declared on national TV station, by president Biya. Atanga Nji,
    continues to amplify it on TV, radio, papers and social platforms. More is still to
    happen, when the war stops some day, because it will surely cross the mungo
    river.

  4. Corporal punishment is only one aspect of disciple; there are others!!!!!! Sticking to an outdated system reflects the narrow-mindedness of those at the helm.

    Metastatic cancers usually begin as tiny moles. Left unattended, a mole grows and spreads and eventually destroys an entire body. What is happening to Cameroon today is similar to the spread of an overlooked cancer.

    When His Excellency Ahmadou Ahidjo introduced policies banning the teaching of religious and moral education in schools ( instead of suggesting the inclusion of his Islam to Christian Education) he set the stage for the current drift into anarchy and criminality. The fear of the Lord is usually the beginning of knowledge.

  5. How can instructors advocate for corporal punishment to stop or mitigate alleged growing violence against them? I remember how corporal punishment became a very hotly debated topic when a teacher in Yaoundé beat up and killed a pupil. The minister of MINEDUC intervened, the teacher was jailed and corporal assault on students was outlawed.
    What teachers need is training & retraining, schools need trained counselors and meetings with parents to encourage better parenting/intervention will be helpful.
    Those who advocate corporal abuse will NEVER want to see their kids being hard-punched in the face by another adult. How such a grotesque idea crosses the mind of an educator is bewildering and scandalizing. It showcases a very primitive idea adopted from a violent and repressive Biya regime.

    • Africans For Donald Trump

      I did not know that the Biya regime introduced corporal punishment in Cameroon!

      Thanks for the enlightenment!

      • Oops! You don’t get the metaphor.

        “..It showcases a very primitive idea adopted from a violent and repressive Biya regime”.

        The Ahidjo CNU regime was a hostile one of which Biya was a part. They conducted weekly executions of the Dualas and Basas who opposed them. UPC adopted the “Maquizas” in response and beheadings were rife.
        Biya came up with a charade called the Cameroon People’s DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT adopting the sing-song slogan of “Rigor and Moralization”, a vain attempt to depart from the very system he helped set up.
        No sooner had rigor kicked in than immorality of the old regime return and the CPDM became the biggest rigging, repressive and fraud circus. Old habits die hard.
        In the-same-vein, this recidivism by teachers mirrors the same behavior of Biya’s REGIME.
        Got it?

        • Africans For Donald Trump

          Prior to Ahidjo, we were governed by the colonialists.

          The colonialists were more violent and repressive than the Biya and Ahidjo regimes!

          The colonialists executed countless Cameroonians each day and used Cameroonians as Guinea pigs for medical research!

          Cameroon was initiated into the international political economy through slavery and colonization.

          Following your logic, “this recidivism by teachers mirrors the same behavior of the colonialists”.

        • You make my point. The system of government we have was handed out to suit the needs and dictates of colonial powers. It’d serve Africans if their regimes can recognize this & change course to serve their own kind well. They just worsened the despair.
          Western nations serve their people well but have dictatorial foreign policies. African nations have subservient foreign policies & dictatorial domestic policies. In the midst of this chaos, the rogue regimes and the disillusioned people turn to the West for solutions. Risible?
          Opposing Biya doesn’t make you unpatriotic or pro-West. There’ll be life after him, only that he’s too myopic to see. Rawlings did the right thing, so did Gen. Abdoussalami of Nigeria & Ellen Johnson.
          By-the-way, I’m not a “Trumper”, good luck to him. I am for Africa.

  6. Spare the rod and spoil the child, Na bible talk am. Corporal punishment is necessary but should be carried out with restrain. Giving a child 6 strokes on the palm with molongo will never harm or kill the child. We all are seeing the examples of wayward children who grew up without any discipline especially the ones in the western world. No respect for elders even their own parents, they insult, mock, underlook, curse and even sue their parents, hence very high rate of depression (80%) and suicide (30%) amongst the children.Discipline is absolutely necessary in children upbringing, however, it should be done with a lot of restrain.

    • Africans For Donald Trump

      Ephesians 6:5

      “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear and sincerity of heart, just as you would show to Christ.

      Na Bible talkam! The Bible must have been written by a friend of earthly masters. If the Bible was written by the friend of slaves, it would say “earthly masters respect your slaves with the sincerity of your heart, just as you would show Christ”.

  7. Corporal punishment should be banned in all schools across Africa.
    You can’t bring the best out of a child by hearting it.
    That is just barbaric.

  8. Good governance relies on and is the product of good leadership dishing out good policies. But when priorities are turned upside down and the cart placed before the horse,….

    Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute has summoned for tomorrow January 21,2020 the first meeting of members of the “Conseil National de Decentralisation”.

    But who are these members? Well, government ministers will be there. OK. The other members are elected parliamentarians. But where are they? They will be elected on February 9, 2020. So they will attend tomorrow’s meeting before being elected? Or will those whose mandates ended long ago be called back to sit as substitutes??????????

  9. If a teacher whips on student in school,the violence will escalate..Students will start trapping teachers out of the school campus and there will be more killings.Besisdes no one is supposed to whip a child.The law is clear about this.Those students who misbehave should be dismissed from the school.

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