In Cameroon, three major teachers' unions have joined forces to demand a special status for educators, raising the stakes in a long-running dispute with the government.
The newly formed Collectif des organisations des enseignants du Cameroun (Corec) was launched on December 21 in Yaoundé, uniting the Syndicat des enseignants du Cameroun pour l'Afrique (SECA), the Intersyndicale, and the On a trop supporté (OTS) movement.
According to Samory Touré Tenkeng, a prominent SECA leader, the goal is to speak with one voice to force the government to apply a special status for teachers.
Teachers have been on strike since September 4, demanding better pay, career advancement opportunities, and improved working conditions. While the special status proposal remains the primary focus, teachers are also keen on resolving outstanding debt payments and career development standardization issues.
Corec's formation reflects concerns within the unions that previous efforts lacked cohesion. The collective aims to present a unified demand for a special status during upcoming negotiations with the government, as mandated by President Paul Biya in his December 31 address.
The National Education Forum (FNE), scheduled for later this year, is seen as a key platform for these negotiations. Some union members, including Tenkeng, express fears that the FNE could sidetrack the special status initiative, similar to the unfulfilled resolutions of the 1995 education conference.
Michel Ange Nga