"Education & Technology For Every Child" (ED-TECH), a CFAF2.8 billion education program, was launched, Thursday, July 13 in Garoua-Boulaï to reduce disparities, inequalities, and the digital divide in the education system in the Eastern region. For its pilot phase, it aims to reach 10,000 students and 100 teachers from 15 primary schools in the municipalities of Garoua-Boulaï, Ngoura, Bertoua I, Bertoua II, and Mandjou.
The objective of the program is to contribute to improving the quality and access to education in this region, classified as a priority education zone (ZEP), and to promote digital and entrepreneurial mindset from primary school onwards. This will be achieved through the construction and renovation of classrooms, provision of desks and benches, rehabilitation and construction of water wells, playground refurbishment, construction of fences, and providing schools with a digital learning platform.
The program is also expected to improve the governance of the education system and contribute to increasing resources for the integrated development of the local education and training ecosystem. The "ED-TECH" program is the result of a partnership between the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Special Fund for Equipment and Intercommunal Intervention (FEICOM). The two institutions have been collaborating since 2017 to support decentralized territorial collectivities (DTCs) in exercising the competencies transferred to them by the state, particularly in the social field.
"The Eastern region is currently facing tremendous pressure on available school equipment and infrastructure due to the influx of refugees caused by cross-border insecurity, and the education needs remain significant despite the efforts made by the country and its partners," indicated FEICOM Director-General, Philippe Camille Akoa, explaining why the Eastern region was chosen for the pilot phase. He explained that his institution has allocated over CFAF 1.76 billion for the five target municipalities as part of this program.
This program "contributes to the realization of the commitments made by the Government of Cameroon during the Summit on Education Transformation last September, particularly the commitment to highlight the opportunities presented by digital technology in education. It specifically aims to promote digital inclusion in the education system and contribute to children's access to quality, inclusive, innovative, and participatory education in safe, modern, and healthy environments," said UNICEF Representative in Cameroon, Nadine Perrault.
Patricia Ngo Ngouem