Cameroon’s government has dispatched ministers and governors to persuade unhappy teachers to return to the classroom. For the last month, teachers have been demonstrating for greater compensation and the settlement of wage arrears, some of which date back ten years.
Officials in Cameroon claim that opposition politicians and “irresponsible civil society organisations” are inciting teachers to continue to resist state authority.
Several hundred lawmakers and civil society organizations, according to the government, have asked youngsters not to attend school and instructors not to teach until the government meets all of their requirements.
For the last month, Cameroonian teachers have been demonstrating for improved salary and working conditions.
Eleven political groups have challenged the government to find adequate and clear solutions to the teachers’ requests, including the Social Democratic Front, the Union of Cameroon People, and the Cameroon Peoples Party. They claimed that the demonstration was legal.
Senior state leaders, such as governors and ministers, have been requested by the government to persuade teachers to return to the classroom to educate.
Cameroon’s secondary education minister, Nalova Lyonga, claims that President Paul Biya pledged to pay teachers’ outstanding transportation expenses and wage arrears in installments beginning this month.
“Teachers, please come back. Don’t go to the streets. There is no need to go to the streets because the head of state is listening. We are going to make the teachers proud. We have to do that, so let me get my teachers back,” she said.
Lyonga stated that a large number of teachers had refused to return to the classrooms, although she did not specify how many.
According to the instructors, 80,000 of them are due a total of $200 million.
Biya ordered the payment of $4 million in back pay to strike instructors who graded examinations earlier this month. The quantity was deemed insufficient by the teachers.
Cameroon has also committed to paying $34 million this month, with the remainder of the transportation fees to be paid over time. While some instructors have returned to work, others have complained that the funds are still insufficient.
When a similar demonstration was staged in 2017, Cameroon’s administration declared Biya ordered the payment of wage arrears, according to Eloundou Patrice, a spokeswoman for OTS, a teachers’ pressure organization organizing the movement. According to Eloundou, some teachers’ wage arrears were paid for one month, and when the protest was put off, the government ceased paying teachers’ obligations. He claims he has little faith in Biya and his administration.
The administration continues to argue that by progressively meeting teachers’ requirements, it would enhance their living and working conditions.
Teachers claim they are entitled up to ten years’ worth of back pay. They also requested that elementary school teachers’ monthly pay be increased from around $150 to at least $400, and secondary school teachers’ salaries be increased from around $400 to at least $800.