Discrimination allegations rock ENS Maroua entrance exams
By Benjamin Et-Nchenge
Candidates, who took part in the written entrance examination into the Maroua Ecole Normale Superieur- (ENS), at the University of Buea, last Wednesday September 14, are calling on the Minister of Higher Education, Prof. Jacques Fame Ndongo, to cancel the entire examination and order a fresh aptitude test, alleging that officials at the examination centre, very evidently discriminated against English Speaking candidates who were not able to express themselves through written French.
According to the aggrieved candidates, compelling them to express themselves in a language, they had no proficiency ended up being a gimmick for sidelining them from gaining admission, and not the outcome of the written exams, or the possession of valid qualification.
They alleged that the invigilator that supervised candidates writing the subject of Science of Education, particularly, looked the other way when Anglophones complained of not being able to express themselves in French during the exams; and even when such complaints persisted all through the exams, the invigilator who had become thoroughly irate and oafish, it is on record, bullied the aggrieved candidates into submission.
Expressing their bitterness at the injustice, the candidates who explained that they face difficulties when having to work with the French version of any written document, urged Minister Fame Ndongo to ask the Administration of ENS Maroua why the English version of the examination paper was not available at the time of writing the September 14 examination.
“We are Cameroonians and Cameroon has English and French as the official languages and has a Constitutional obligation for public examinations to be printed in both languages simultaneously before applicability. It is the duty of the Ministry of Higher Education, which has an entire Directorate for Legislation and Documentation, to make sure that Ndip, who is an Anglophone; and Eyoum, a Francophone, have scripts in the language they understand best, and at the same time.”
Meanwhile, a Non Governmental Organisation, Association of Human Rights Observers, has called on Government to probe the discrimination allegations, stressing that “doing the right thing is the only way ENS Maroua can get the best brains to handle the demands in the teaching field.”
When contacted for comments, the President, Ndi Jeremiah, expressed disappointment that this was happening after several unfulfilled promises to address the educational needs of the country, especially at the higher education level.”We have been watching and have seen that government has not deemed it necessary to address the imbalances in the post secondary school system, especially as it relates to teaching staff.
“We were delighted when the pronouncement was made that action was actually being taken to recruit qualified teachers. Now, what we hear concerning the examination is bad. It will be an injustice to our children if the right persons were not engaged. It will amount to nothing if we allow this development to obtain by sweeping the allegations under the carpet. `
“What is not debatable is the fact that there are no jobs anywhere, and the people who are desperate can cash in on any development to gain something, no matter their qualifications. Let us not give room for mediocrity to run down our system, and plunge us into further crisis, Mr. Ndi stated. He promised that they would continue to monitor developments at ENS Maroua, and implored Prof. Fame Ndongo to jettison “politics” and bring perpetrator(s) of the crime to book.
A senior official of ENS Maroua who spoke to The Star on grounds of anonymity said the school had promised to make use of the employment window to ensure that only the “best brains were admitted,” so as to begin to correct anomalies in the system.
He vehemently denied the allegations, and insisted that persons that performed below expectations during the process were the ones probably making such allegations.
He concluded that the school is out to weed bad eggs, if any, amongst it ranks, hence, those found to be cause of the allegations, as cited above, will be prosecuted by the laws in place.