The news amuses the sceptics. However, from now on, the best land clearer, cleaner or farmer in a 10th grade class will be rewarded in the junior high school examination (Brevet d’études du premier cycle - BEPC). Starting this year, in June, the grade for the manual work practicals (TM) will count for a factor of 2 in this exam. A recent decree from the Ministry of Secondary Education (Minesec) confirmed the commitment of the government to get students interested in this topic; just like sports or arts.
“In my opinion, it is the best way to give points to students. Imagine that a student gets 18 in TM, this gives them 16 spare points (8x2). It is not nothing”, says a high school teacher ironically. Whatever may be the case, Cameroon is thereby complying with the more global wish of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to add value to manual work in education systems; this, since 1950.
In the Cameroonian education system, manual work is “any production or service activity of general interest which is meant to help the student acquire manual skills, a taste for creation, the sense of dignity in manual labour and awareness of their responsibilities in the country's development”. A seminar was organised for teachers and secondary school administrators in August 2015 in Yaoundé to approve the teacher’s manual for manual work.
Monique Ngo Mayag