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Public secondary education: over 2,300 teachers face possible dismissal

Public secondary education: over 2,300 teachers face possible dismissal

Paru le vendredi, 19 janvier 2024 12:25

Cameroonian authorities have suspended the pay of 2,326 teachers suspected of abandoning their posts in a bid to tackle chronic absenteeism plaguing the public sector. The Ministry of Secondary Education (Minesec) announced the "precautionary measures" against the teachers on Wednesday, January 17, highlighting their repeated absence and failure to justify their administrative positions.

"These personnel were identified following the call for denunciation launched in May 2023, which encouraged citizens to anonymously report teachers absent from work through a dedicated online platform," explained Minesec Minister Nalova Lyonga in a press release.

The suspensions could potentially lead to dismissal for the affected teachers. A recent circular issued by the Finance Ministry specifies that public servants facing four years of suspension are subject to "disciplinary measures, including dismissal," effective 2024. Minister Lyonga had previously warned in October 2023 of potential disciplinary action against 1,571 teachers reportedly missing from their posts unless they clarified their administrative status within two weeks.

Teacher absenteeism remains a persistent problem across Cameroon, impacting not only secondary but also primary education. In February 2022, Basic Education Minister Laurent Serge Etoundi Ngoa threatened sanctions against absent teachers, emphasizing the responsibility associated with their positions and the necessity of justifying their salaries.

In a broader effort to manage the size and cost of the public sector, the Ministry of Civil Service and Administrative Reform (Minfopra) announced in 2022 that 8,766 civil servants, primarily teachers, were at risk of dismissal. Over a thousand individuals have already been removed from the payroll since the launch of a controversial physical headcount of state personnel in 2018. This initiative aims to identify and eliminate "ghost employees" who entered the payroll system irregularly due to absence, resignation, or undeclared death.

The Cameroonian government hopes that tackling absenteeism and streamlining its public sector workforce will lead to a more efficient and cost-effective administration.

Patricia Ngo Ngouem

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