PART ONE: DIDACTICS OF ENGLISH IN CAMEROON
CHAPTER ONE: LANGUAGES IN THE EDUCATION SYSTEM OF CAMEROON AND ENGLISH IN PRIMARY SCHOOL
CHAPTER TWO: THE TEACHING OF ENGLISH IN SECONDARY LEVEL SCHOOLS
CHAPTER THREE: THE TEACHING OF ENGLISH IN TERTIARY LEVEL INSTITUTIONS
PART TWO: DESCRIPTION OF THE ENGLISH SPEECH OF FRANCOPHONE USERS
CHAPTER FOUR: THE SOUND SYSTEM OF FRANCOPHONE ENGLISH
CHAPTER FIVE: THE LEXICON OF FRANCOPHONE ENGLISH
CHAPTER SIX: THE MORPHO-SYNTAX OF FRANCOPHONE ENGLISH
CHAPTER SEVEN: APPRAISAL OF CAMEROON’S FRENCH-ENGLISH OFFICIAL BILINGUALISM POLICY
Francophone English as Kouega (2017) points out, is a dialect of English that is developing in a number of “Expanding Circles” countries where French has hitherto been the sole or primary medium of instruction. These countries are in three continents, i.e., America (Canada), Europe (Belgium, Switzerland) and northern, western and Central Africa (Morocco, Ivory Coast, Chad). This study focuses on English in Cameroon, a Central African country where two linguistic communities, i.e., Francophone and Anglophone, co-habit. Anglophone English in Cameroon has received the attention of many scholars including Simo Bobda (1994), Mbangwana (1992), and Kouega (2007a). This work deals with Francophone English, i.e., the variety of English that speakers of French use.
In francophone Cameroon, children learn French from the first day of school, and it is through this medium that they learn other content subjects like science or geography. In big towns, English is introduced as a subject at the primary level of education but in remote areas, it is effectively taught at the secondary level. It is taught in all schools as part of the implementation of the country’s French-English official bilingualism policy that had been adopted since 1961 when French Cameroon and English Cameroon united to form a federal state. It was pledged that by the time francophone children reach the tertiary level of education, they would be proficient in English, their country’s second official language. This work, which describes the English of these francophone users, comprises an introduction, seven chapters grouped into two parts, and a conclusion.
The introduction first overviews the historical background of the country: it takes up in turn the situation of the country prior to colonization, the country’s contacts with Europeans, the colonization process, the status of the country as a League of Nations mandated territory , its status as a United Nations trust territory, the federation of French Cameroon and English Cameroon, the evolution of the country from a federal to a unitary state, and most importantly, the challenges facing the unitary state. This is followed by notes on the geographic and the linguistic situations of the country.
Part One, which deals with the didactics of English in Cameroon, comprises three chapters. Chapter One takes up the languages in the education system of the country on the one hand, and English in primary schools on the other. Chapter Two dwells on the teaching of English in secondary schools institutions: it considers in turn primary teacher preparation, technical and professional education schools and, lastly, general education schools. Part One ends with an overview of the teaching of English in the various tertiary level institutions in the country.
Part Two tackles the description of the English speech of francophone users. It first outlines the research design, examining in turn the textual material collected, the informants contacted, and the procedure adopted. The investigation is divided into four chapters. Chapter Four takes up the sound system of francophone English, focusing on the realisations of consonants and vowels, and stress placement. Chapter Five examines the vocabulary of this variety of English and finds that it is characterised by an excessive use of direct loan, calque, and false friends. This is followed by Chapter Six, which describes the morpho-syntactic features of the variety. The frequent features identified can be grouped under 12 major categories of items, i.e., verb tenses, articles, the plural form in noun phrases, pronouns, word order, subject-verb agreement, adverbs, prepositions, question formation, negation, verbs in embedded clauses, and serial verbs. Lastly, Chapter Seven draws on the findings outlined in the three preceding chapters to make an appraisal of Cameroon’s French-English official bilingualism policy. It first evaluates the measures taken over the years by Government to promote official bilingualism. Then it considers the consequences of the failure of this policy. Finally it proposes a way forward: there is a need to adopt a new syllabus purposely designed to enhance bilingual competence among francophones in the country.
English in francophone Cameroon seems to be a good illustration of what has been referred to as “Francophone English” (Kouega 2017). The generic term “Francophone English” refers to a dialect of English that is developing in countries where French has been the sole or the primary medium of instruction. These countries include: France, French Canada, Belgium, Switzerland, African francophone countries like Cameroon, Gabon and Ivory-coast (see Coleman, 2013), and Arabic-using countries like Algeria, Chad and Morocco. English is gradually being introduced in these “Expanding Circle’ countries, with Cameroon leading the group because its population is potentially more exposed to English than the others, just like French Canada is potentially more exposed to English than countries like Belgium and Switzerland. In Cameroon for example, some Anglophone and Francophone pupils share the same school campuses. In this brief introductory section, background information on Cameroon’s history, geography and language situation is provided.
Cameroon is a country whose name started up as Camarões, then became Camerones, Kamerun, Cameroun and finally Cameroon. Located in the Central African region, it is bound on the north by Chad, on the south by Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Congo, on the west by Nigeria and on the east by the Central African Republic. Its total surface area is approximately 183,569 square miles, i.e., some 475,440 km. This section examines the evolution of Cameroon from the pre-colonisation period to the present day showing how the territory was once coveted by various European nations and how English found itself there. It takes up in turn Cameroon before colonisation, contacts with Europeans, the colonisation process, the status of a mandated territory, the status of a trust territory, independence, partition of British Cameroons, federation of British and French Cameroons, evolution from federation to the unitary state and, finally, the challenges facing the unitary state. These are considered in turn.
Cameroon before colonisation
This territory used to be inhabited by several communities which can be brought together according the geographical areas they occupied into two major groupings. The people living in the northern areas were mainly Sudanese and Fulbe while those living in the southern area were mainly Bantu and Semi-Bantu people. In the northern area, the Sudanese like the Kapsiki and the Mboum seem to have been the autochthonous inhabitants; in all likelihood, they seem to have lived in the area for the longest time. The Fulbe, also called Fulani, seem to have arrived much later. They came from Senegal, crossed northern Nigeria and northern Cameroon, and went to Sudan through Chad. They were Muslims on a crusade to civilise all pagans, whom they referred to as kirdis. They succeeded in converting many Sudanese and the few who resisted had to hide themselves in inaccessible mountainous areas. This explains why in northern Cameroon today, people living in the same localities speak languages having nothing in common.
The communities living in the southern areas were mainly the Bantu and the Semi-Bantu. The Semi-Bantu people like the Bamileke, the Nso and the Tikar, who were by far more numerous, appear to have fled from the Fulbe invaders. The Bantu people like the Douala, the Ewondo and the Bakossi, occupied the territory from the Atlantic coast to the heart of the Equatorial rain forest.
Contacts with Europeans
It is reported that Hanno, a Carthaginian navigator, was the first European to have reached the coast of Cameroon. He led a fleet of 60 ships which reached the coast of Cameroon around 500 BCE when Mount Cameroon was spitting fire in a volcanic eruption. He named this mountain the “Chariots of the Gods”. The next European who arrived was another navigator called Fernando Poo, this time a Portuguese; he landed on an island in 1472 CE and gave it his name. He sailed from the ocean into the main land waters; as he reached the Wouri estuary, he came face to face with an impressive number of prawns migrating towards the ocean and he therefore named this river Rio dos Camarões (River of Prawns). Subsequent batches of Europeans were Spanish traders, who referred to the whole area as Camerones. The Germans called it Kamerun, the French Cameroun and the British, Cameroon, as they took turns at colonising the territory. Slave trade started up in the area in 1450; the slaves were taken to the island of Sao Tome where they embarked on their long journey to America. Commodities in slaves, ivory, and gold were exchanged for weapon, salt, clothes, and spirits, and this trade went on for many centuries between the Portuguese and Cameroonians, with the Portuguese living in their boats anchored in the coast.
The colonisation process
The first Europeans to have effectively settled in the coastal parts of the country were English Baptist missionaries, who arrived in 1841. Pastor Joseph Merrick set up a church in Douala, and later, a church and a school in a nearby coastal village called Bimbia, which had been the departing port for slaves on their journey to America. When Pastor Alfred Saker arrived, he built more churches and schools in neighbouring coastal villages. Future batches of Baptist missionaries moved from the coast to the hinterland and evangelised hordes of people. As the missionaries were evangelising the indigenes, their fellow colonisers were organising the conquered territories. In 1840, the British government represented by a ship captain, signed a contract with the Kings of Douala abolishing the Slave Trade. From this period trade with the colonisers was limited to the exchange of raw materials and minerals for manufactured goods. With time, some disputes erupted among the colonisers. For example in 1858, some missionaries were expelled from the Sao Tome island by Spanish colonisers and Alfred Saker had to found the town of Victoria, now called Limbe, to cater for them.
Like the British, other colonisers wanted to have a strong hold on the coastal areas of Cameroon. To avoid any disturbance, British traders got the native chiefs to sign various treaties with them and to write to Queen Victoria of England to ask for her protection from other colonisers. By the time she replied, Nachtigal, a German explorer, had already won the territory for Germany and to show this, he hoisted the German flag over the land on 14th July, 1884. German traders settled in various localities in the country and, in 1890, the first German missionaries arrived. In 1895, Von Puttkamer was appointed as governor of Kamerun and his term of office was marked by the creation of agri-industrial plantations around Mount Cameroon. Besides, he moved the headquarters of the colony from Douala to Buea. Indigenes who opposed German annexation were brutalised and their chiefs killed: Rudolf Douala Manga Bell was executed in Douala, and so was Martin Paul Samba in Ebolowa.
On August 1, 1914, Germany attacked France and fighting took place in Europe and in Cameroon. French troops in Chad and the Central African Republic, British troops in Nigeria and Belgian soldiers in Congo all moved to Cameroon, defeated the Germans and took possession of Cameroon. All in all, Germany operated in Cameroon from 1884 to 1914, some 30 years. During this period, they created vast agri-industrial farms to cultivate bananas, rubber and tea, constructed bridges and schools as well as railway lines to transport minerals and agricultural produce from the hinterland.
The status of a mandated territory
The Allied French, British and Belgian forces met in Versailles in June 1919 to share the war booty that Cameroon had thus become. Under the supervisory eyes of the League of Nations, France took the biggest share (432,000 km i.e. some 169,500 square miles). Britain was given two discontinuous strips of land along the Nigeria-Cameroon border totalling 90,000 km i.e. some 35,300 square miles). The northern strip was called Northern British Cameroons and the southern strip was referred to as Southern British Cameroon. Britain was asked to administer her two strips and France to do the same for her share. France’s share was renamed East Cameroon and the British one was called West Cameroon. In short, from 1922 to 1946, West Cameroon was a League of Nations mandated territory under British rule while East Cameroon was a League of Nations mandated territory under French rule.
The status of a trust territory
The Second World War broke out in 1939. Cameroonian soldiers fought in Europe alongside Charles de Gaulle for the liberation of the French territory. After the war, the League of Nations was dissolved and a new organisation – the United Nations Organisation i.e., UNO – was set up. As a result, the League of Nations mandated territories of Cameroon were renamed as UNO trust territories. France run its trust territory from 1946 to 1960 and Britain run hers from 1946 to 1961.
Independence of French Cameroon
During the Trusteeship period, France ruled Cameroon and her other colonies in Africa as parts of the French territory. The colonies were asked to send representatives to Metropolitan France and the respective colonies were administered from its capital. Every step was taken for these colonies not to ever be granted independence. The first Assembly of representatives called ARCAM (Assemblée Représentative du Cameroun: Cameroon Representative Assembly) was created in 1946. The second Assembly called ATCAM (Assemblée Territoriale du Cameroun: Cameroon Territorial Assembly) was set up in 1952. The last Assembly called ALCAM (Assemblée Legislative du Cameroun: Cameroon Legislative Assembly), was put in place in 1956. With such tactics, France thought that she could continue to run the colonies from Paris. In 1958, Sekou Toure, the Guinean representative, was bold enough to declare his country independent. This declaration came as a surprise to French officials. They therefore decided to violently crush any such moves in the future. In Cameroon, leaders of the Union of Cameroon Peoples (Union des Peuples Camerounais - UPC) like Felix Moumie, Um Nyobe, were chased and many fled or were eventually killed. This Party, which advocated self-government and individual liberties before independence, was declared an illegal communist party and was subsequently banned.
To quell tensions that erupted in most of its West African colonies, France granted them self-government and allowed them to elect a Prime Minister. In Cameroon, with the UPC having been banned, the remaining political parties were: Union Camerounaise – UC led by Ahmadou Ahidjo, Arouna Njoya and Jules Ninime; Democrates Camerounais – DC led by André-Marie Mbida; Paysans Independants led by Mathias Njoumessi and Michael Njine; and Action Nationale led by Soppo Priso and Charles Assale. These parties’ deputies formed a coalition government as none of them had the majority of deputies. This coalition elected André-Marie Mbida as the first ever Prime Minister of Cameroon in 1957. From January to December 1959, Cameroon exercised effective self-government. The first government was formed, with Ahmadou Ahidjo being the Vice-Prime minister. Mbida was expected to grant amnesty to the banned UPC party; his refusal to do so led to violence and social upheavals in the whole country. To bring back law and order, Mbida brought in French soldiers. As demonstrations intensified despite the intervention of French troops, the Prime Minister resigned in February 1959. Ahmadou Ahidjo, the Vice-Prime Minister, took over and continued the steady walk towards independence. In March 1959, the UNO Trusteeship status of Cameroon was repealed and the country became independent on January 1, 1960 with, as expected, Ahmadou Ahidjo as the first President.
Partition of British Cameroons and federation with French Cameroon
British Cameroon was made of two strips of land which were both attached to different regions within Nigeria. Northern British Cameroon was part of the Northern Nigeria region and Southern British Cameroon was attached to the Southern Region of Nigeria. The representatives of these strips of land had different opinions about the future of their territory. At a conference in the Lancaster House in London, these representatives expressed their divergent views. To Endeley of the Kamerun National Congress - KNC, Southern British Cameroon was to be a separate autonomous region within Nigeria. To Mallam Abba Habid, Northern British Cameroon was to be fused within the Northern Region of Nigeria. To Mbile, representing the Kamerun People’s Party - KPP, Southern British Cameroon was to be fused within the Eastern Region of Nigeria. In 1954, Endeley’s party won an election organised to confirm that Southern Cameroon was a separate autonomous territory within Nigeria. Barely a year after this feat was achieved, Endeley changed his mind and this led to a schism within his party. John Ngu Foncha arose with the Kamerun National Democratic Party – KNDP advocating complete separation from Nigeria and reunification with French Cameroon, which was already in the process of gaining independence from France. In 1957, Foncha’s KNDP defeated Endeley’s KNC and Foncha was therefore appointed as the Premier of Southern British Cameroons within the Nigeria Federation. In one last attempt to make his voice heard, Endeley merged his KNC with Mbile’s KPP and Kale’s Cameroon Peoples National Convention – CPNC so that together they could campaign for integration within Nigeria. As two opposing views emerged, a plebiscite supervised by the United Nations Organisation – UNO, was organised on February 11, 1961 in Southern British Cameroon and another one in Northern British Cameroon. The question that the populations of the two territories were asked was: “Do you wish to become independent by uniting yourselves to the independent Republic of Cameroon?” It turned out that, in Southern British Cameroon, 233,571 people were for joining Cameroon against 93,741. In Northern British Cameroon, it was the reverse: 146,296 people were for joining Nigeria while 97,659 were for joining Cameroon. In short, Northern British Cameroon formally joined Nigeria on June 1, 1961, a day President Ahmadou Ahidjo declared a national day of mourning in Cameroon. As for Southern British Cameroon, it formally became independent by joining the Republic of Cameroon, with which it formed a federation on October 1, 1961.
Between the plebiscite in February 1961 and effective Reunification in October 1961, various political encounters were organised. The turning-point was the Constitutional Conference that, on July 9, 1961, brought together the representatives of the two states that the plebiscite united. The 12 representatives of the Republic of Cameroon included Ahmadou Ahidjo, President of the Republic, Charles Assale, Prime Minister, Arouna Njoya, Minister of State in charge of the interior and Charles Okala, Minister of Foreign Affairs. The 23 representatives of the Southern Cameroon delegation included Government authorities like Foncha, Jua and Muna, local chiefs like the Fons of Bafut, Bali and Mankon, and officials of three political parties, i.e., the KNDP of Foncha, the CPNC of Endeley and the One Kamerun (OK) of Nde Ntumazah. The two delegations discussed various aspects of the Federal Constitution to be drafted including the form of the new state, nationality, elections, to name only these few. They agreed amongst other things that this Constitution should include a clause:
- emphasising the country’s adherence to the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
- highlighting the federal integrity of the two states and excluding secession, which could result from the term “indivisible” used in the draft;
- giving one nationality to all Federal Republic citizens, etc.
Evolution from federation to the unitary state
In the new Federal Constitution that was adopted, the federal nature of the new state was highlighted: the name of the state was changed from République du Cameroun to République Fédérale du Cameroun - the Federal Republic of Cameroon. Ahmadou Ahidjo remained the President of the new state and the new post of Vice-President was created as recommended. This post was taken up by John Ngu Foncha besides his being the Prime Minister of Southern British Cameroon or West Cameroon for short.
The creation of the Federal Republic did not stop party activities in each federated state. It is reported that there were some 90 parties in East Cameroon and about ten in West Cameroon. In order to get all Cameroonians concentrate on nation building, the leaders of major parties agreed to merge their parties and create one national party. These were Ahmadou Ahidjo of the Union Camerounaise - UC, John Ngu Foncha of the Kamerun National Democratic Party – KNDP, Kale of the Cameroon Peoples National Convention – CPNC, and Tandem Muna of the Cameroon United Congress – CUC. This national party called Cameroon National Union – CNU was created on September 1, 1966. Other party leaders like Mayi-Matip of the UPC were later given positions in this big party. The leaders who did not join the party were arrested and charged for inciting conflicts.
Barely six years after the creation of one single party, these same leaders reported that it was uneconomical for a young country to run three governments and one party i.e. the Federal Government, the East Cameroon State Government and the West Cameroon State Government. Besides traders needed a pass called Laissez Passer to travel from one state to the other; each state had its currency and used its own language, phone calls from one state had to go through France or Britain to get to the other state. As a solution to these problems, Ahidjo proposed that the two states be united. A referendum was organised on May 20, 1972; all Cameroonians, both Francophone and Anglophone were to indicate whether they were for or against the creation of a unitary state. It turned out that the majority of citizens were in favour of a unitary state. On the basis of these results, major political, administrative and linguistic changes had to be made. First the 1961 Constitution was revised, with its section 1(4) stating that: “the official languages of the United Cameroon shall be French and English (Presidency of the Republic of Cameroon, 1972). Regarding territorial administration, the country was divided into seven provinces run by governors appointed by the President of the Republic. There were two provinces in East Cameroon i.e. Northwest and Southwest and five in East Cameroon i.e. Centre-South, East, Littoral, North and West. Provinces were divided into Divisions (French Départements) headed by Divisional Officers (French Prefets) all appointed by the President of the Republic. In 1982, Ahidjo resigned and Paul Biya, his constitutional heir and incumbent Prime Minister, took over.
In 1983, the new President modified the territorial organisation of the country by decree, increasing the number of provinces from seven to ten. In 1984, he changed the country’s name by decree from the United Republic of Cameroon to the Republic of Cameroon just as it was before federation. The argument put across was that the use of the term “united” gives the impression that the country was once divided. Another major change made was the conversion of the name of the single national party created in 1966 from the Cameroon National Union – CNU to the Cameroon Peoples Democratic Movement – CPDM in Bamenda in 1985.
In 1996, some important changes were introduced in the Constitution (Presidency of the Republic of Cameroon, 1996). First, the term “indivisible” that was rejected in the 1961 Constitution as was pointed out above was brought back even though it was softened by the innovative concept of decentralisation: “The Republic of Cameroon shall be a decentralised unitary state. It shall be one and indivisible, secular, democratic and dedicated to social service” (section 1(2)). Second, it was specified in section 1(3) that: “The official languages of the Republic of Cameroon shall be English and French, both languages having the same status. The State shall guarantee the promotion of bilingualism throughout the country. It shall endeavour to protect and promote national [i.e., indigenous] – languages”. Third, the territorial regions of the country were empowered in section 56(1): “the State shall transfer to Regions, under conditions laid down by law, jurisdiction in areas necessary for their economic, social, health, educational, cultural and sports development”. Fourth, the ten provinces of the country i.e. Adamawa, Centre, East, Far-North, Littoral, North, North-West, West, South and South-West were renamed “Regions” (section 61). It was believed that with these changes, Cameroon would become a prosperous country in which its numerous tribal groupings and linguistic communities would live in peace and harmony.
Challenges facing the unitary state
The challenges facing the unitary state can be grouped under the following terms: high centralisation of power, poverty and lack of basic infrastructure, corruption and embezzlement of public funds, the Boko Haram insurgency group, and most recently, the Anglophone problem.
High centralisation of power
The 1996 Constitution of the country (section 1(2)) stipulates that “The Republic of Cameroon shall be a decentralised unitary state”. For close to three decades since that Constitution is in force, this provision has not been implemented. The President reigns supreme on all the institutions of the country: he appoints ministers and managers of parastatals who in turn designate service heads. Governors and divisional officers, school principals and discipline masters, and hospital managers are all appointed by the President. This causes every appointed official to refer back to him for the least decision therefore delaying the process of decision-making. To illustrate, the decision to construct a road in a remote locality is taken in Yaounde, and by the time this decision is implemented on the field, many years have gone by and in the meantime, citizens residing in the area are desperate. In short, all powers are concentrated in the hands of one person, which is a gross violation of a constitutional provision.
Poverty and lack of basic infrastructure
Cameroon is a potentially rich country. It has huge deposits of crude oil and good land for agriculture. Exports commodities include aluminium, crude oil and petroleum products, and lumber on the one hand, and products like banana, cocoa, coffee, cotton, grains, livestock, oilseed, and rubber on the other. Despite these riches, Cameroon is plagued by dense bureaucracy, embezzlement, corruption, and a handful of Party faithful reap all these resources, making half of the population live below the poverty line, and as many as 30% of the youths unemployed. In the education sector, pupils’ parents via Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) are forced to contribute huge amounts of money to pay for the construction of classrooms and for PTA teachers’ salaries. Needless to say, this practice, though encouraged by Government, is illegal. In the health sector, poor citizens die of treatable sicknesses like malaria while Party oligarchs go for medical checkups in Western countries. There are barely two doctors for every 10,000 people and as a result, health is handled mainly by nurses, who are not sufficiently trained. In the absence of pipe-borne water, people drink any kind of water and therefore expose themselves to various water-borne diseases. In the sector of transport, there is shortage of tarred roads, making it difficult for farmers in remote areas to cart their farm produce from the villages to big towns where these products are needed. Despite these shortages, only a very limited proportion of state investment funds is consumed every year. In short, the vast majority of the population is undergoing serious hardship while high-ranking civil servants are unable to count the fleet of luxurious cars and mansions they own.
Corruption and embezzlement of public funds
These vices are rampant in Cameroon even though some legal provisions to curb their spread do exist. The 1996 Constitution of the country (section 66) stipulates that the President of the Republic and all managers of public fund should “declare their assets and property at the beginning and at the end of their tenure of office.” For the past 20 years, this provision has not been applied. The 2016 Penal Code (section 184) focuses on embezzlement of public funds, with penalties ranging from five year detention to life imprisonment. Despite these legal parapets, the country occupied the last position in the 1998 International Corruption Perceptions Index of Transparency International. Ever since, it has not gone far from that position; in 2016 for instance it was the 145th country in a sample of 180 countries. In an effort to curb corruption in the country, judges sent many government ministers and managers of parastatals to jail but, apparently, no effort has thus far been made to retrieve the embezzled money. Worse many other managers who have embezzled state funds and who are visibly very active in the Party have not been disturbed. This has pushed some commentators to claim that if someone embezzles state funds and is devoted to Party activities, he would hardly be bothered by the police. In short, impunity is the root cause of this vice in Cameroon. The direct consequence is that the wrong people enter the civil service and perpetrate the practice they have gone through. Their concern is what they will gain in any transaction and not what the country will gain. When there is no possibility of making gains, some managers consume very little of the state investment funds allocated to their services. As a result, various projects are not realised; schools, roads and hospitals fail to be constructed, which causes the citizens to get poorer and poorer as the years go by.
A debilitating situation was observed in December 2018 when the Organisation of the African Football Confederation (CAF) cup was withdrawn from Cameroon. CAF officials were sent to Cameroon to check its readiness to host the competition, with the focus on four major parameters, i.e., overall security, infrastructure, stadiums and accommodation. Regarding security, it was found that the country was having difficulty in containing skirmishes in five of its ten regions. Basic infrastructure like roads was in a deplorable state and accommodation was insufficient in number, with the few available hotels being of low quality. Worse, the stadiums that were earmarked to host the games were still not completed, as the money allotted to their construction was diverted by high-ranking officials appointed to manage the project.
The Boko Haram insurgency group
In 2013, a new enemy threatened the evolution of the unitary state. This enemy is Boko Haram, an international Islamic sect whose territory covers the northern part of four African countries i.e. Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad. It is a terrorist group with some 50,000 members who have killed over 20,000 people and abducted a good number of individuals. Worse it has caused the displacement of many communities, leading to the creation of refugee camps housing close to 3,000,000 people in these four countries. To get new followers, this sect targets unemployed youths. Unemployment, high crime rates, corruption and prostitution are social ills that tend to go with poverty and low purchasing power. Exploiting these social ills, members of this sect make the youths, both male and female, believe that in the new state it will create, these youths will get well-paid jobs. These youths are therefore happy to receive military training and in no time they take pleasure at manipulating machine guns, bombs and tankers and at volunteering for suicide attacks. They tend to overpower conventional soldiers as they use such non-conventional techniques as massacres and abductions of civilians, especially school children. In fact, they are against the spread of Western education and they wish to promote the Sharia law. These assailants made various incursions into Northern Cameroon and abducted several foreigners. Ransoms of undisclosed amounts were paid for these foreigners to be released. The army had to be posted in the whole of northern Cameroon to check their progress and to protect civilians, as farmers had abandoned their plantations, pupils and teachers their classrooms and state workers their offices. All the resources of the country are now being used to check the progress of these assailants so that tourism, an important source of revenue, can pick up. In short, because of these assailants, the resources that were to be used for the development of the country are now used to fight an unconventional war, the end of which cannot be projected. The group is losing ground, despite sporadic suicide attacks reported occasionally. Some of its trained members are deserting and are returning to their communities. Their return is now posing a new set of problems, as it is not clear whether they should be absorbed by the army or would have to undergo a special training so that they can be integrated in their communities.
The Anglophone problem
It is the expression of a malaise that Anglophone citizens have been trying to cope with since Reunification in 1972. In 1961, the two territories of Cameroon embarked on a union that led to the federation of two states called West Cameroon and East Cameroon. As the then Constitution of the country stipulated, each federal state was responsible for the effective management of clearly specified aspects of public life. In section 2(5), it is said:
The following subjects shall be of federal jurisdiction:
5.2. Status of Aliens;
5.3. Rules governing the conflict of Laws;
5.4. National Defence;
5.5. Foreign Affairs;
5.6. Internal and External Security of the Federal State, and Immigration and Emigration;
5.7. Planning, Guidance of the Economy, Statistical Services, Supervision and Regulation of Credit, Foreign Economic Relations, in particular Trade Agreements;
5.8. Currency, the Federal Budget, Taxation and other Revenue to meet federal expenditure;
5.9. Higher Education and Scientific Research;
5.10. Press and Broadcasting;
5.11. Foreign Technical and Financial Assistance;
5.12. Postal Services and Telecommunications;
5.13. Aviation, and Meteorology, Mines and Geological Research; Geographical Survey;
5.14. Conditions of Service of Federal Civil Servants, Members of the Bench and Legal Officers;
5.15. Regulation as to procedure and otherwise of the Federal Court of Justice;
5.16. Border between the Federated States;
5.17. Regulation of Services dealing with the above subjects.
More prerogatives are listed in 2(6.1):
The following subjects shall also be of federal jurisdiction-
(a) Human Rights;
(b) Law of Persons and of Property;
(c) Law of Civil and Commercial Obligations and Contracts
(d) Administration of Justice, including rules of Procedure in and Jurisdiction of all Courts (but not the Customary Courts of West Cameroon except for appeals from their decisions)
(e) Criminal Law;
(f) Means of Transport of federal concern (roads, railways, inland waterways, sea and air) and Ports
(g) Prison Administration;
(h) Law of Public Property;
(i) Labour Law
(j) Public Health;
(k) Secondary and Technical Education
(l) Regulation of Territorial Administration
(m) Weights and Measures.
To ensure that revenues are shared proportionately, the federated states indicated their respective population in the constitution in its section 60(1): “For the purposes of this Constitution the population of each Federated State shall, on the faith of the statistics of the United Nations Organisation, be taken to be, as follows: East Cameroon 3,200,000 West Cameroon 800,000”.
At Reunification in 1972, the two federated states merged to form a unitary state; this new state turned out to be highly centralized, with all powers in the hands of the President of the Republic. Over the years, West Cameroon citizens witnessed the erosion of their Anglo-Saxon culture and the rapid introduction of French-based elements in their ways of doing things, which they referred to assimilation; actually, every British-inspired system of management in areas like administration, agriculture, education, law, to name only these, was gradually undergoing Frenchification. Another feature was marginalisation. Barely seven years after Reunification had some Cameroonians living abroad pointed out the first signs of marginalization of Anglophone citizens who, as they said, were reduced to second class citizens. The specific issues they raised included the form of the state, which ceased to be federal and the concentration of decision-making powers in the hands of one person, i.e., the President of the Republic. In 1982, some elites of the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon met in Douala to ponder over this Frenchification of Anglophone Cameroon. The association they thus formed was called the Cameroon Anglophone Movement – CAM. Over a decade later, the CAM movement became the Southern Cameroons Restoration Movement – SCARM. The same line of thought led to the creation of the Southern Cameroon People's Conference (SCPC) which brought together students, political leaders, businessmen and activists opposed to the Reunification with French Cameroon. In 1995, this organization set up its executive board which was called the Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC). Its main objective was to bring together Anglophones for their collective fight for freedom and their subsequent non-violent separation from La République of Cameroon. The date earmarked for the declaration of independence of this would-be State was October 1st, the very day Anglophone and Francophone Cameroon reunited. As the ideology of the SCPC and the SCNC, its executive body, was self-determination, the Council was banned and its members were arrested and detained. Since then all meetings of this organization are disrupted by the police. This made many activists flee the country and to continue the fight in the various countries to which they emigrated. The activists who remained in the country resolved to stage a demonstration on October 1st every year. On this day, activists in all Anglophone Cameroon towns struggle to hoist the Southern Cameroon flag and each time the police use various techniques to prevent them from doing so. These techniques include abductions, arrests, tear-gassing, and occasional live bullet shooting.
In October 2016, Anglophone lawyers took to the streets partly because a high number of officially monolingual French-speaking lawyers were posted to Anglophone Cameroon, making French the language used in court proceedings involving Anglophone citizens in Anglophone Cameroon and in the write-up of judicial and administrative documents. The most common grievances cited, which are said to centre on the concepts of “marginalisation”, “exploitation”, “assimilation”, “repression” and “subjugation”, surface in the following terms:
- Judicial and administrative documents are written only in French;
- French civil law is used by francophone administrators in Anglophone Cameroon
- francophone magistrates are appointed to preside over Anglophone courts;
- the OHADA business law is in French since its creation in Mauritius in 1993 (OHADA: L'Organisation pour l'Harmonisation en Afrique du Droit des Affaires - The Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa);
- of 148 magistrates in the Southwest region, 58% were francophones, making 39.2%
- of 30 newly appointed bailiffs in 2014, 28 (93.2%) were francophone;
- of 128 magistrates in the Northwest region, 67 (52.3%) were francophone;
- of 119 magistrates in Douala, two (1.7%) were Anglophones
- of 107 Magistrates in the courts of Yaounde, two (1.9%) were Anglophones;
- why are more Francophones sent to Anglophone key jurisdictions and only an insignificant number of Anglophones sent to francophone key jurisdictions?
- why is the language of the military only French in a bilingual country;
- why is French the language of the military courts in a bilingual country?
- why does English not ever take the centre stage in the country?
Similarly, in November 2016, Anglophone teachers launched a strike action partly to protest against an overflow into Anglophone schools of officially monolingual francophone teachers who know very little English and therefore teach Anglophone pupils in French or Pidgin. The 11 grievances they put forward were:
- Anglophone children who pass the GCE examinations with quality grades cannot enter professional schools of their choice, while those who perform poorly fill all the spaces;
- Francophones outnumber Anglophones in the professional schools in the Anglophone universities of Bamenda and Buea by a ratio of 90:10% in the technical school in Kumba, 90:10% in the medical school in Buea, and 80:20% in the technical school in Bamenda whereas there are no Anglophones in these schools in francophone universities;
- Anglophones who apply to read medicine are usually sent to francophone universities where they are unable to operate in French, and they eventually give up;
- Government does train Anglophone technical teachers but they are posted to francophone schools;
- Government continues to send francophones who do not master English to teach in Anglophone schools. The teachers teach in broken English, thereby confusing the students. As a result many do not perform well in their final examinations.
- the Universities of Buea and Bamenda have been francophonised and admissions into key faculties are taken to Yaoundé so that admission lists be doctored;
- Anglophone children are compelled to write the Certificat d’Aptitude Professionnel - CAP, Probatoire and Baccalaureat in technical schools, with a tradition of poorly translated questions and massive failure on their part. Such French certificates have replaced Anglo-Saxon certificates like the Royal Society of Arts and the City and Guilds.
“What a mockery to our certificates!” some people are reported to be saying.
- Anglophone university graduates cannot get jobs; they have become bike riders, callbox operators and cell phone SIM card vendors.
- lay private and confessional schools are doing so much to educate Anglophone children, but they receive little or no subvention from Government. Even the Religious Studies subject is mocked at as a requirement for admission into higher institutions of learning;
- the election and appointment of officials of the Anglo-Saxon universities of Bamenda and Buea should be in strict compliance of Anglo-Saxon norms.
- the 1998 Law on the Orientation of education in Cameroon provides for the creation of an Education Board, but there should be two separate boards where the needs of each sub-system are addressed.
These lawyers and teachers, who are looked up to by the ordinary citizens in Anglophone towns were brutalised and humiliated during their strikes by security forces. This harsh treatment pushed all Anglophone people to become highly interested in these trade union grievances and they whole-heartedly joined in. To welcome these new members, lawyers and teachers created a new organisation grouping all Anglophones in Cameroon and abroad which they called Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium (CACSC). The demonstrators were not only teachers and lawyers this time, but all Anglophone Cameroonian residing in and out the country. This led to an increase in the litany of the grievances, which were initially job-related. The new set of grievances now included the following:
- absence of an international airport and a functioning seaport in Anglophone Cameroon
- the Cameroon Development Corporation – CDC – and other agri-industrial plants were auctioned to the French;
- absence of a referral hospital in Anglophone Cameroon;
- assimilation and identity loss;
- impossibility for an Anglophone to head a number of key ministries including defence, finance, foreign affairs, territorial administration, education, to name only these;
- Anglophones are downgraded to inferior positions in decision-making in the country;
- the oil refinery situated in Anglophone Cameroon is headed by a francophone;
- absence of roads linking the main localities of Anglophone Cameroon;
- dilution of the Anglophone cultural heritage;
- non-respect of Anglophone prime ministers, whose duty has been emptied of its content as it had been transferred to the Secretary General of the Presidency of the Republic;
- in competitive exams, Anglophones are disfavoured;
- no Anglophone has ever been president of the country or secretary general of the presidency
- courses in higher institutions of learning like the schools of medicine, magistracy, public works, are taught mainly in French;
- Buea companies pay their taxes in Douala treasuries and Bamenda companies pay theirs in Bafoussam treasuries, which causes shortage of resources in the treasuries located in Anglophone Cameroon;
- The change of the name of Cameroon from the federal republic of Cameroon to the republic of Cameroon overlooks the federal nature of the union and highlights the fact that Anglophone Cameroon does not exist;
- the persistent refusal of Government to discuss relevant provisions of the Constitution;
- the appointment of francophone ambassadors to English-speaking countries
These demonstrators were willing to follow the orders instructing them to practise civil disobedience so as to force government to look into their grievances. Because of civil disobedience, all court activities were grounded and schools remained close.
To reverse the tide and stop the situation from getting out of hand, Government convened a roundtable discussion with the lawyers’ and teachers’ representatives. Government officials exchanged views with these representatives and it took them no time to realise that the trade union problems that were raised initially had already muted into the SCNC’s self-determination ideology. In reaction, Government outlawed the CACSC - just as it did with the SCNC - and arrested its members i.e. the very members that took part in the discussion with Government officials. These representatives were referred to as terrorists and were transported to – and kept in custody in - Yaounde, the capital city of Cameroon, which is situated in francophone Cameroon. They were tried in a military court for active participation in terrorism acts, with capital punishment looming over their heads. To the Anglophone citizens, these representatives were abducted and they would therefore fight till they are released. To them, it did not make sense that someone commits a crime in Anglophone Cameroon and is tried in Francophone Cameroon, where French would be used.
While these representatives were in prison, Government took a number of decisions which, under normal circumstances, could have diffused the trade union crisis. These decisions included:
- the posting of Anglophone teachers to Anglophone Cameroon and the recruitment of more Anglophone teachers;
- the creation of a commission to reinforce bilingualism and biculturalism in Cameroon;
- the translation of the OHADA texts;
- the appointed of Anglophone magistrates to Anglophone courts;
- the release of some detained activists;
- the creation of an English section in the school of magistracy;
- the recruitment of 1,000 bilingual technical school teachers
Unfortunately, these decisions were regarded as mere decorations that could not resolve the issue at stake in any way. Besides, what preoccupied the demonstrators then was no longer the resolution of the problem but the release of the detained representatives. To make their voices heard, they decided to reinforce civil disobedience.
In September when Government was encouraging reluctant parents to send their children to school, some explosions were heard in the towns of Bamenda and Douala. They seemed to have originated from a locally made explosive, which was reported to have been made from a gas cylinder and activated with a mobile phone. These criminal acts were attributed to the military unit of the Anglophone activists. Then a mission school dormitory was burnt, which pushed hitherto courageous parents to take their children back home. To diffuse tension, Government released some of the 55 Anglophone activists detained in prison in Yaounde. While welcoming their release, Anglophone demonstrators asked for the unconditional release of all other activists arrested in connection with the Anglophone problem. Civil disobedience activities were increased from two to three days per week, Monday through Wednesday. This led to the total closure of all schools. Government still believed that the Anglophone problem was created by Anglophones residing abroad and manipulating a handful of youths in the country. On Friday 22nd September 2017 i.e. a week before 1st October when protesters come out every year, all Anglophone citizens in every Southern Cameroon locality staged at the same time, a huge non-violent demonstration. Overpowered, security forces had no choice but to keep them in check so that no property is destroyed. From this protest that involved Anglophones of all walks of life, it was evident that the Anglophone problem was not a mere manipulation by a handful of émigrés but something deeply rooted in the minds of the local people. Messages like the following could be read on the placards they held:
- No violence!
- We want our independence!
- We want self-determination!
- Southern Cameroonians/Ambazonia must be free!
- Free all detained Anglophones!
- No school until our independence is achieved!
- Ghost towns must continue till we achieve our independence!
On October 1, 2017, protesters came out in their numbers to stage the yearly demonstration that they had been organising on the Reunification Day and that had always been disrupted by Government. Their intention this time was to proclaim the independence of Southern Cameroons. Security forces responded with heavy machinery including helicopters and tear gas. The casualty was heavy. International bodies including the US government, la Francophonie, the Commonwealth, the African Union, Amnesty International and national bodies including the Bishops of the Bamenda Provincial Episcopal Conference described the massive loss of lives using such loaded terms as: “genocide”, “massacre” “bloody separatist conflict”, “confrontation”, “carnage” “mass killing”, and “bloodbath”. Fru Ndi, the leading opposition Party leader, invited his followers to set up a solidarity fund to assist the injured and the maimed and insisted that the president of the country should be prosecuted for genocide. In reaction, the governing council of Southern Cameroon was reported to be saying that with this massive killing, the resolution of the problem had passed the level of dialogue with the only option left being “the restoration of the statehood of the Southern Cameroons”. This does not augur well for the future of the country.
Towards the close of the year 2018, two related events seriously tarnished the image of the country; these are: the presidential election and the withdrawal of the organisation of the African Cup of Nations from Cameroon. The presidential election was marred by excessive rigging at all levels, and it became clear to the national and international community that the institutional body in charge of elections in the country was in fact an extended organ of the executive. Worse, the Constitutional Court responsible for elections-related litigations was another organ of the Executive as its members are appointed by presidential decree. These two organs put together strip any sign of fairness in elections in the country.
Regarding the African Cup of Nations, Cameroon in November 30, 2018, was officially stripped of hosting this biennial international men's football championship of Africa, some seven months before the 2019 opening match. It was on September 20, 2014 that Cameroon was declared the host of the competition for the year 2019. The country had first hosted the competition in 1972, and it won its 2017 edition in Gabon. It was therefore a good candidate for hosting the 2019 edition. The decision of the African Football organising body was motivated by a number of factors the most salient ones being: delays with the building of stadiums, non-existence of road infrastructure in the territory, and generalised insecurity in many parts of the country. This came as no surprise to Cameroonians who had been complaining about high centralisation of power, poverty and lack of basic infrastructure, corruption and embezzlement, and the necessity to urgently use dialogue and diplomacy rather than arms to solve the Anglophone Problem that had grounded life in two of the ten regions of the country. In January 2019, it was announced that Cameroon would organise the 2021 edition of this tournament and it is hoped that, by then, these internal bottlenecks outlined above would have been resolved.
Under this heading the country’s ethnic groupings, its population, and its economy are considered in turn. Four major ethnic groups are identified in Cameroon. These are: Bantu, Fulani, Semi-Bantu, and Sudanese (Neba 1987, Kouega 2007, Atlapedia 2017). As Neba (1987:46) pointed out, the Bantu people, also known as Equatorial Bantu, occupy the southern half of the territory and include the following communities: the Bafia, Bassa, Bulu, Eton, Ewondo, Fang, Kaka and Maka. The Fulani, also known as Fulbe, are found in the low lands in the whole of the northern half of the country. The Semi-Bantu, referred to elsewhere as West highlanders or Grassfield, are in the Northwest and West regions and include: the Aghem, Bafut, Bamileke, Bamun, Kom, Mbembe, Nso, Tikar, and Widikum. Lastly, the Sudanese or Kirdi, who sought refuge in the high lands in the northern half of the country, include: the Baya, Dourou, Fali, Kapsiki, Laka, Mboum, and Tupuri. In some works, the Bantu people are subdivided into two groups, i.e., the Equatorial Bantu found in the Centre and South regions of the country and the North-western Bantu occasionally referred to as the Sawa, who live in coastal areas. They are the Bakossi, Bakweri, Bayang and Douala. The number of people making up each of these ethnic groups has never been disclosed as successive governments do not want to include questions on ethnicity and language in their censuses. In addition, there are a few aliens who come from other African countries like Chad and Nigeria. There are also a few Non-Africans of various nationalities including: British, Canadian, Chinese, Cypriot, French, German, Greek, Indian, Lebanese, Syrian, U.S. and a few others.
Regarding the population of the country, it is estimated at around 23 million inhabitants. This figure is a projection made from the findings of the latest census that was carried out in 1987, when the population was 10.5 million (MINPAT, 1987). The annual growth rate was said to be 2.02% and the birth rate 35.49%. It was also projected in 1999 that some 42.3% of this population was under the age of 15, that urban dwellers were 42.4% and rural ones 57.6%, a rural dweller being defined as someone living in a locality where farmers and labourers are more numerous than people working in the third sector. The female population was around 50.1% and the fertility rate was 4.63 births per woman. The literacy rate was said to be about 79% with an adult literacy rate of 26.5%, literacy here being understood as the ability to read and write either French or English or both, with literacy in any other language being ignored. Needless to say, these figures do not integrate such factors as the Boko Haram insurgency group that has affected school attendance in three regions i.e. Adamawa, North and Far North, the influx of hundreds of refugees from Nigeria and the Central African Republic that has swelled the populations of the East and Far North Regions, the sharp drop in oil prices on international markets, and generalised poverty, to name only these.
As for the economy of the country, it can be said that this territory includes all the relevant ingredients that can facilitate its take-off. It has huge deposits of crude oil, and a favourable climate and good land for agriculture. Even though the country produces oil, its agricultural sector which employs over 70% of the population, is not neglected. Export products include: banana, cocoa, coffee, cotton, grains, livestock, oilseed, root starches, rubber and timber. Prominent industries include petroleum extraction and refining, food processing, the production of light consumer goods, textiles and lumber, aluminium smelting and mining. Despite these resources, Cameroon was a heavily indebted poor country (HIPC) with a public debt worth 5.68 billion dollars in 2003. It eventually reached the completion point to the IMF reforms in the debt relief process in 2005 and it gained financially through external debt cancellation. Unfortunately, the population did not benefit from this debt cancellation since their purchasing power was lower than it was before the country became a Highly Indebted Poor Country. Because of dense bureaucracy, embezzlement, corruption, and impunity, the country has used up its resources and it now has no choice but to go back to the IMF and negotiate another round of external debt.
Language situation in Cameroon
As reported in Kouega (2007b), Cameroon is a multilingual country where several languages of various statuses co-exist: two official languages, four major vehicular languages, several minor lingua francas, close to three hundred lesser minority languages, and one mixed language variant created by youths.
First, two official languages co-exist in the country. As the successive constitutions of Cameroon since Reunification in 1961 stipulate, French and English are the official languages of the country. French is used in all domains of social life. In education, it is the language of instruction in all French-medium schools; it is taught as a subject in all English-medium schools and competence in it is checked in all public competitive examinations. English on the other hand, is used in many domains of social life by a limited portion of the country’s population; in education, it is the language of instruction in all anglophone schools and a subject in all francophone schools in the country as well as a subject in all public competitive exams.
These languages and language variants fall into two broad categories i.e. major lingua francas and minor lingua francas. Major lingua francas which are used in sizeable portions of the country include the following: Pidgin, Fulfulde, Beti, and Camfranglais. Knowledge of any of these codes enables speakers to communicate with a wide range of interlocutors in various outgroup interactions. Pidgin is actively spoken in two regions i.e. the Southwest and Northwest regions and it is used extensively in the neighbouring Littoral and West regions. The seminal sociolinguistic study on its spread and use in the country is a collection of works edited by Koenig et al (1983); recent works include: Kouega and Emaleu (2013), Kouega (2015), Ayafor and Green (2017), to name only these. Fulfulde is used in the three Northern regions of the country, i.e., Adamawa, North, and Far North, and in the northern part of the East Region. A recent sociolinguistic work attests its use in religion (Kouega and Baimada, 2012). Beti is the generic term referring to a group of related languages spoken in the Centre and South regions of the country and in three neighbouring countries, i.e., Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, and Congo. The codes that constitute this language group include: Bebele, Bulu, Eton, Ewondo, Fang, Mengisa and a few other clusters of languages spoken in the forest zone in the southern half of the country.
Lastly, Camfranglais is a powerful outgroup language variant. As Kouega (2007b) points out, it is:
a composite language – a pidginised form - that blends, in the same speech act, linguistic elements drawn from French, English, Pidgin and other widespread languages in Cameroon. Functionally, it resembles a slang, which youngsters use to communicate among themselves to the exclusion of non-group members. Fluent users are secondary school students, who eventually leave school and become soldiers and policemen, thieves and prisoners, gamblers and conmen, musicians and comedians, prostitutes and vagabonds, hair stylists and barbers, peddlers and labourers and in a few cases, high-ranking civil servants and businessmen. This language seems to be preferred by youngsters when they discuss issues of importance to them such as food and drink, money, sex, physical appearance, states of mind, reference to kin and other people, to name only a few topics. A look at its origin shows that it arose in the early eighties, when the decision to promote bilingualism in education by teaching English as a subject in French-medium secondary schools in the country was fully implemented.
Book length works on Camfranglais are rare: Ntsobe et al (2008), (Kouega 2013); however, some of its speakers have migrated to Europe and other continents and are using it on various media including music Koppo (2017) and the internet (Telep 2014, Aiché Moussa 2017). Minor lingua francas, on the other hand, are vehicular languages confined to specific geographic areas, with their speakers being proficient in the major lingua franca of the locality where they grew up. These are: Arab Shua, Basaa, Bulu, Douala, Hausa, Kanuri, Mungaka and Wandala. They are taken up in turn below. The users of Arab Shuwa are found in Cameroon in the Far North region and in Chad in the southern area. It is therefore a transborder language whose speakers in Cameroon tend to be fluent in Fulfulde, the dominant lingua franca of the area. Basaa is spoken in part of the Centre region, where Beti is dominant and part of the Littoral region where Pidgin English is the most widespread lingua franca. Bulu is spoken as a mother tongue by some people and a second language by many business people from the Centre and the East regions. Needless to say, it is a dialect of the Beti language group, which is dominant in this area. Duala is spoken along the Atlantic coast. It was spread by the Baptist missionaries who used it in native schools in the colonial days. It was so popular that in 1910, the Germans passed a law to check its spread. In recent times, thanks to renowned Makossa musicians it continues to be used by a few second language users but most of its speakers can also operate in Pidgin English, a more powerful lingua franca. Hausa is spoken in northern Cameroon and in part of northern Nigeria. It is therefore a transborder language which in Cameroon co-exists with Fulfulde, a widespread lingua franca in northern Cameroon. Similarly, Kanuri, a nilo-saharan language, is spoken in the Far North Region of Cameroon, where Fulfulde reigns supreme. Mungaka, also known as Bali, was developed by the Basel missionaries, who used it for evangelism and taught it as a subject in their native schools (Todd, 1982) in the Northwest Region. Today, it is losing ground to Pidgin English, a more powerful lingua franca. Wandala, also called Mandala, is spoken in mountainous localities on the Chad-Cameroon borders, where Fulfulde is dominant.
Lesser minority languages
The languages of Africa are said to fall into four families labelled Afro-Asiatic, Nilo-Saharan, Niger-Kordofan and Khoisan (Greenberg, 1966). Geographically, Afro-Asiatic languages are spoken in the area stretching from northern Cameroon through Niger and Chad to Sudan. The Nilo-Saharan family includes the languages of Ethiopia and Egypt; Niger-Kordofan languages are spoken in the Black African area, excluding South-Africa, where Khoisan languages dominate. Of these four language phyla, the first three are represented in Cameroon (Chia, 1983).
As Kouega (2007b) reported, the exact number of language units in the country still remains to be worked out by experts. A study limited to urban centres identified some 123 distinct languages (Chia, 1983). A more extended investigation completed that same year recorded a total of 237 languages (Dieu and Renaud, 1983). However, a careful count of the languages listed in their study shows that there were 244. In 2000, Grimes and her Summer Institute of Linguistic research team went over these languages again and found that there were 286, sub-divided as follows:
- three languages without first language speakers i.e., French, English and Pidgin;
- four extinct languages i.e., Duli, Gey, Nagumi and Yeni;
- 279 living languages, of which some have only one speaker left, like Bikia and Bishuo.
However the list they provided contains only 267 languages. These same findings were reproduced by Lewis et al (2014). As Government is reluctant to count these languages, it is wise to say that they are less than 300. Some efforts are however being made to promote some of these languages. First, Government instructed their effective use on the media and this is being done in a few public and private radio stations, as reported in Kouega and Somb Lingom (2013). Another effort made by Government was to set up a Department of Cameroonian Languages and Cultures, where teachers are trained to teach Cameroonian languages. Teacher trainees are taught a variety of subjects, including the Alphabet, Orthography and Culture of all Cameroonian languages and cultures (course code LCC131), Cameroon oral literature (course code LCC161), Science of education (course code EDI 101), etc. After graduation, these teachers are expected to teach a new school subject, i.e., Cameroonian languages and cultures, in secondary schools in the country. For a start, the following languages were chosen: Basaa, Beti, Bulu, Duala, Ghomala, Limbum, Ngiembon and Yemba. Needless to say, the criteria underlying the selection of these specific languages is not clear; if it is their weight in the country, then none of them has up to 500,000 speakers out of a population of some 23 million inhabitants.
This introductory section has provided an overview of the history of Cameroon and its geography and language situation. The study is divided into two parts: Part One takes up the teaching of English in the francophone part of the country, broaching the primary, secondary and tertiary levels of education. Part Two is a linguistic description of the English language in Francophone Cameroon.
PART ONE: DIDACTICS OF ENGLISH IN CAMEROON
This part of the work focuses on the teaching of English in Cameroon. It considers in turn languages in the education system of the country and the teaching of English in primary school (Chapter One), secondary school (Chapter Two), and tertiary level institutions (Chapter Three). These are considered in turn.
CHAPTER ONE: LANGUAGES IN THE EDUCATION SYSTEM OF CAMEROON AND ENGLISH IN PRIMARY SCHOOL
This chapter begins with an outline of the Cameroon education system (1.1). Then it considers languages in education in the country (1.2) and finally, it focuses on the teaching of the English language in primary school (1.3).
1.1 The Cameroon education system
In Cameroon, two sub-systems of education (the francophone and the anglophone systems) co-exist. Originally, only anglophone children followed the anglophone sub-system and only francophone children, the francophone one. The francophone sub-system begins with kindergarten classes in urban areas and with the Section d’Initiation au Langage (SIL), i.e., Class One in rural areas. Elementary education lasts for six years and, throughout this period, francophone pupils are taught the following 18 subjects listed in MINEDUC (2001:5):
Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten
At the end of the sixth year, francophone pupils sit for a public examination called Certificat d’Etudes Primaire s (CEP) while Anglophone pupils sit for the First School Leaving Certificate (FSLC). They also sit for the entrance examination into secondary education, which offers two major options: general education (with the focus on subjects like literature, history, mathematics) and vocational education (which includes a technical component like electricity, masonry, carpentry). Secondary education lasts for seven years in both sub-systems. In the francophone sub-system, general education pupils read various subjects including history, mathematics, biology and languages from Sixième (Form One) to Troisième (Form Four) through Cinquième (Form 2) and Quatrième (Form Three). In Troisieme (Form Four) they sit for a nation-wide examination to obtain a certificate called Brevet d’Etudes du Premier Cycle – BEPC. These four classes constitute what is called Premier Cycle (First Cycle of secondary education). The Second Cycle (Second Cycle of secondary education) which lasts for three years, is a specialisation cycle. On the basis of pupils’ performance in the Troisième class, they are required to specialise in Arts or Sciences. Arts pupils go to Seconde A (Form Five – Arts) or Seconde C (Form Five – Science). They move on to Premiere (Lower Sixth Form) where they sit for a nation-wide examination called Probatoire. Lastly, they go to Terminale (Upper Sixth form) where they sit for the Baccalaureat (GCE Advanced Level), which is the secondary education exit examination. Francophone technical education is structured in just about the same way, with their certificates being referred to as Probatoire Technique and Baccalaureat Technique.
In 2018, by Order Number 227/18/MINESEC/IGE/ of August 23, 2018, the Second Cycle of the francophone education system was modified, with the number of specialisations moving from two to four: Arts, Science and technology, Social sciences, and Cinema. In both the Cinema and Science and technology specialisations, English is to be taught three hours a week for three years. In the Arts and Social sciences specialisations, it is to be taught four hours a week for three years. Within the Arts specialisation, there is a special sub-specialisation referred to as Serie ABI, A4 Bilingue. In this sub-field, English is to be taught five hours a week for three years. In addition, it is to be the medium of instruction of three subjects taught five hours a week in all. These subjects are: citizenship education, sports and physical education, and manual labour/handicraft/drawing. These four specialisations are to be introduced gradually, beginning with the Seconde classes.
In the Anglophone sub-system, general education pupils read subjects like mathematics, biology, literature and the like for five years, from Form One to Form Five, where they sit for the nation-wide certificate called General Certificate of Education – Ordinary Level (GCE O’ Level). This certificate also serves as an orientation guide, as some pupils are good at the Sciences and others at the Arts. Successful candidates move on to Lower Sixth Form and lastly to Upper Sixth Form, where they sit for the General Certificate of Education – Advanced Level (GCE A’ Level). Secondary technical education is structured in the same way.
The certificate required for admission into tertiary level education institutions in the country is either the Baccalaureat or the GCE A’ Level. In most of these institutions, an effort is being made to apply the Bachelor-Master-Doctorate (BMD) system:
1.2 Languages in education
Several languages are taught in the education system of Cameroon. These are: French (1.2.1), English (1.2.2), Latin and Greek (1.2.3), Arabic (1.2.4), Spanish and German (1.2.5), Italian, Portuguese and Chinese (1.2.6) and indigenous languages (1.2.7). These are taken up in turn.
It is the dominant official language of the country and it is therefore the medium of instruction in all French-medium schools in the national territory. In addition, it is taught as a subject in all English-medium schools from the first day of school throughout the education system. It should be noted that French-medium schools exist in the Anglophone regions of the country and so are English-medium schools in the francophone regions. Actually, in big towns, English-medium and French-medium schools share the same campuses. The variety of French targeted in the country is Parisian French, even though both teachers and pupils hardly reach this target.
It is the second official language of the country and it is therefore the medium of instruction in all English-medium schools. Besides, it is taught as a subject in all French-medium schools from the first day of school throughout the education system. The variety of English targeted is Standard British English coupled with its RP accent. Any speech form short of this target tends to irk francophones, hence their annoyance with Anglophones who at times switch to Pidgin English. Actually, two different models of English operate in Anglophone and Francophone Cameroon.
In francophone Cameroon, English is a foreign language (EFL) as it performs no official function; actually, many educated people can operate fully with French alone. It falls here under what Kachru (1985) termed Expanding Circle in his Three Circles Model. It also falls in what Buschfeld and Kautzsch (2017) called Extra- and Intra-territorial Forces (EIF). These forces are anything that comes from outside and from inside and affects the linguistic development of a given community. In Cameroon, the forces that came from outside and which changed francophones’ attitudes to English include:
- the admission of the country as a member of the Commonwealth (scholarships from one single English-speaking country sometimes outnumber what all Francophonie countries put together can offer in a year; Expanding Circle countries like China and Japan offer various courses taught in English and such courses bring together international students who interact together and therefore get to know one another better;
- migration opportunities to French-speaking countries like France are shrinking while there is much room to occupy in English-speaking countries like the US and Canada;
- the availability of the British Council teaching and testing programmes;
- globalisation factors like the internet (for example, while books in French are rare and very expensive when they are found, there are thousands of open access material in English begging for researchers to draw from).
The internal forces that pushed francophones to scramble for English are mainly a series of decisions taken by Government in the 1990s. Many decisions had been taken after the Unification of Anglophone and Francophone Cameroon in 1961 (see among other works, Kouega 1999a) but these decisions did not seem to bear fruit. Other decisions therefore had been taken in the 1990s to reinforce the previous measures. These include:
– the drafting by the Ministry of Education (see MINEDUC 2001, Kouega 2003a) of a primary school syllabus outlining how each subject including the second official language subject would be taught
– the issuance of an order stipulating that every primary school teacher would henceforth teach every subject on the school syllabus including the second official language subject (Order No 21/E/59 of May 15, 1996 organising the Grade One teacher certificate examination);
– the institution of an order introducing the second official language subject in both the written and oral parts of the First School Leaving Certificate (FSLC) examinations and its French equivalent, the Certificat d’Etudes Primaires (CEP) examinations (Order No 66/C/13 of February 16, 2001);
– the institution of a National Day of Bilingualism in public and private schools in Cameroon (Decision no 1141/B1/1464/ MINEDUC/IGE/IGP/BIL of October 28, 2002); on this day, anglophone pupils are expected to communicate in French and francophone pupils in English;
– a circular letter instructing primary and nursery education state officials to see that bilingualism is effective in all nursery and primary schools (circular letter No 033/B1/1464/MINEDUC/IE/ IGPBIL of October 14, 2002);
– a circular letter instructing secondary education state officials to see that the National Bilingualism Day is observed in all schools and that, in addition, Language Clubs (LC), to be called “Club Français” for Anglophone pupils and “English Club” for Francophone pupils, be set up in all schools, that the National Anthem be sung in English and French on alternate days and that a prize be awarded to the best bilingual pupils in each class (Circular letter No B1/1464/MINEDUC/IGE/IGE/GP/BIL of December 2, 2002);
– a circular letter instructing teacher training college principals to provide adequate training so that student-teachers be sufficiently equipped to teach the second official language (Circular letter No 009/B1/1464/MINEDUC/IGE/IGP/BIL of April 9, 2003); (see Abang 2007 for an evaluation);
– a decision creating a bilingualism watchdog committee in the Ministry of Education, which is responsible for the observation, verification and supervision of the practice of bilingualism in central and external services of the Ministry of Education (Decision No 1230/B1/1464/MINEDUC/CAB of June 12, 2003) …
It was assumed that when these measures are implemented all educated Cameroonians would be proficient in English and French.
Regarding anglophone Cameroon, it is a postcolonial territory where English is a second language (ESL) even though many of its inhabitants are proficient in Pidgin English instead. In Kachru’s categorisation, English here falls in the Outer Circle. In Schneider’s classification, it may be said that this variety of English has completed Phase Three (Nativisation) and is gradually moving to Phase Four (Endonormative stabilisation). Nativisation features are attested at all levels of linguistic analysis. Common vocabulary terms are described in the first ever dictionary of Cameroon English (Kouega 2007a); aspects of grammatical nativisation are presented in Mbangwana (1992) and phonological features are outlined in many works including Simo Bobda (1994) and Kouega (1999b). Literary creativity (Ambanassom 2008) is developing, with writers flouting standard English norms and making their characters speak as people do in the society (see Kouega and Aseh, 2017). These creative works are taught in schools, even though some university officials have a negative attitude to them and are therefore going an extra mile to curb their use. This new English variety in the making, which used to be referred to as “English in Cameroon” and “Cameroon Standard English”, has systematically been referred to by all researchers from Kouega (1998, 1999b) as “Cameroon English”. It can therefore be concluded that Cameroon English is about to reach Phase Four in Schneider’s evolution of Postcolonial English taxonomy (Schneider, 2003).
1.2.3 Latin and Greek
These are two classical languages taught as an optional course in some secondary schools in the francophone sub-system of education. It is reported that in France, knowledge of these languages by L1 learners enhances the acquisition of Standard French and, for that reason, they have to feature in French-medium schools in all francophone countries including Cameroon. At the tertiary level, these two languages are taught as a subject in French degree programmes.
1.2.4 Arabic, German and Spanish
These are three optional languages taught in secondary schools in the francophone sub-system of education. In the Quatrième class (Form Three), all pupils doing general education must choose either Anglais Renforcé (Intensive English) when it is offered, or one of these three languages, which are referred to as Langues Modernes (Modern Languages). Quatrième classes are divided according to these choices into: Quatrième-Anglais Renforcé (Form Three - Intensive English), Quatrième-Arabe (Form Three - Arabic), Quatrième - Allemand (Form Three – German), and Quatrième-Espagnol (Form Three – Spanish). Each pupil learns his chosen language for two years and takes it as a subject in the Brevet d’Etudes du Premier Cycle – BEPC examination. The certificate obtained indicates the language chosen: BEPC-Option Anglais Renforcé, BEPC-Option Arabe, BEPC-Option Espagnol, and BEPC-Option Allemand. In Seconde (Form Five), general education pupils choose to do either Arts or Sciences. Science pupils drop the modern languages while Arts pupils continue to learn them till they exit from secondary education. At the tertiary level, there are departments of German and of Spanish in many universities including teacher training institutions.
One question that one may ask is why these languages are taught in the Cameroon francophone educational system. The answer for some languages is obvious. English is the second official language of the country. Arabic is a religious language used by the Muslim population of the country, whose territory covers three of the ten regions that make the country. Regarding German and Spanish, the answer is not straight forward. In a study surveying non-official languages in secondary school education in Cameroon, Kouega (2011:287) asked 432 respondents (students, parents, school inspectors and language teachers) the reasons why these two languages were taught in Cameroon and the following answers were given:
- because Cameroon was colonised by Germany and Spain;
- because they were living languages, international languages spoken in many countries;
- for cooperation, diplomacy, and globalisation;
- I really do not know and I wish someone could tell me;
- so as to help those students who want to study in Germany and Spain or Europe as a whole;
- to overwork pupils;
- to get jobs;
- they are the most common destinations for Cameroonians going abroad;
- to help students to learn other languages;
- for pure fancy, etc.
They were also asked to indicate whether Government should add other non-official languages to German and Spanish in Form Three and the following results were obtained: 66.67% of 432 were in favour of an increase in the range of non-official languages to choose in Form Three. Finally, they were asked to indicate what languages they would add to German and Spanish if Government asked them to propose a few. Their proposals included mainly Asian languages (308), Cameroonian languages (264 occurrences), European languages (244 occurrences), and African languages (32 occurrences), as the list below shows:
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1.2.5 Chinese, Italian, and Portuguese
These three languages are being taught in Cameroon today. Chinese teachers are trained at the University of Maroua and when they graduate they are posted to various secondary schools in the country, where they teach the language from Form Three. Italian is taught as a degree course in the University of Yaounde I and the University of Dschang. Both Chinese and Italian are taught, together with German and Spanish, which had been on the school syllabus since the country became independent. These four languages are introduced in Form Three, and pupils are called upon to choose one of them. The range of choices may be reduced from four languages to one depending on the availability of teachers. Lastly, Portuguese is taught as a degree course in the University of Yaounde I. As far as we are aware, it is not taught in secondary schools. For the 2018-2019 academic year, the following books were selected for the teaching of these languages in Quatrième (Form Three) classes in the country:
Chinese: Bonjour Cameroun 1 by Nama, D.
Italian: Didactica del Italiano by Bitikik, M.
Spanish: Nueva didactica del Espagnol by Abissous et al
1.2.6 Indigenous languages
In the 1996 Constitution of Cameroon, it is stipulated that Cameroon indigenous languages shall be promoted. With this constitutional provision in mind, Government instructed the Higher Teacher Training School to set up a Department of Cameroonian Languages and Cultures, where teachers are to be trained to teach Cameroonian languages. Teacher trainees are taught a variety of subjects, including the Alphabet, Orthography and Culture of all Cameroonian languages and cultures (course code LCC131), Cameroon oral literature (course code LCC161), science of education (course code EDI 101) etc. After graduation, these teachers teach a new school subject, i.e., Cameroonian languages and Cultures, in secondary schools in the country. For a start, the following eight languages were chosen: Basaa, Beti, Bulu, Duala, Ghomala’, Limbum, Ngiembon, and Yemba. No decree announcing the choice of these languages was issued and very few Cameroonians are aware of what is going on. The list of the chosen languages already poses a serious problem: Beti has always been regarded as a language group with Ewondo, Bulu and Eton being its dominant dialects. Strangely, Bulu is cited here as a separate language and Eton does not feature at all. Besides five regions out of ten are not represented i.e. Adamaoua, East, Far North, North and Southwest, while two regions are represented by three languages i.e. the Centre with Basaa, Beti, Bulu and the West with Ghomala’, Ngiembon and Yemba.
There seems to be a contrast between the eight chosen languages and the languages that Cameroonians would have chosen if they were asked to do so. In the same study mentioned above, Kouega (2011) asked his 432 informants the following question: “Suppose that Government announces that it is ready to teach Cameroonian languages and that each person should choose two indigenous languages, i.e., his or her own ancestral language plus any other indigenous language. If this is the case, besides your ancestral language, which other language would you choose?” The following languages or answers were given:
Akoose: 4; Arabic: 4; Bafia: 4; Bakoko: 4; Bamileke (a language group): 20; Bamun: 8; Basaa: 32; Beti (a language group): 20; Bulu: 32; Duala: 120; Eton: 8; Ewondo: 52; Fe’efe’e: 12; Fulfulde: 72; Ghomala’: 4; Hausa: 8; Medumba: 16; Ngemba: 4; Ngiembong: 4; I will choose any language: 16; I will choose the language of the city where I am: 4; I will choose no language because I am sure that Government can never do that: 12; Blanks: 12.
A close look at this list shows that the following three are the most frequently chosen second ancestral languages: Duala (120 occurrences out of 432 i.e. 27.78%), Fulfulde (72 occurrences i.e. 16.67%) and Ewondo (52 occurrences i.e. 12.04%). As can be seen, only one language on this list, Duala, features among the eight languages being taught to student teachers in Cameroon today. This means that seven languages - Basaa, Beti, Bulu, Ghomala’, Limbum, Ngiembon and Yemba - being taught do not match the choices of the respondents of this study. It can therefore be hypothesised that the indigenous language teaching programme in Cameroon bears the seed of its failure as the languages chosen do not result from consultation with respondents and, to some extent, experts in the domain.
In short, this chapter has outlined the francophone sub-system of education in Cameroon and the languages taught in this system. These include: French and English which are official languages, Latin and Greek which are Classical languages, Arabic, German and Spanish which are international languages, Chinese, Italian and Portuguese which are a further set of international languages, and finally a few Cameroonian languages.
1.3 The teaching of English in francophone primary schools
This section considers primary schools (1.3.1) and primary teacher training in the country (1.3.2); then it examines primary English syllabus (1.3.3), the time allotted to the English subject (1.3.4), the teaching materials used (1.3.5) and formal assessment of pupils and their performance in English (1.3.6). Finally, the primary English programme is evaluated (1.3.7). These are considered in turn.
1.3.1 Primary schools in the country
The 2005 census revealed that the schooling population of Cameroon stood at 8,804,601 Francophone and Anglophone youngsters aged 4-24 years. From this figure, it was projected that this population would rise to 9,883,607 in 2010, 11,116,450 in 2015 and 12,439,505 in 2020, as Table 1 below shows:
Table 1. Evolution of the schooling population from kindergarten to the tertiary level
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(adapted from NIS, 2013:89)
Below is the 2012 enrolment of both Francophone and Anglophone pupils in the six classes of the primary school level (Table 2).
Table 2. Enrolment of pupils in the six classes of the primary level in 2012
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(adapted from NIS, 2013:97)
In Cameroon, English is taught as a compulsory subject in all French-medium schools as early as the first day of the primary school cycle, which lasts for six years, with the children’s official entry age to Class One being six years. This policy became effective in the year 1998 and since then, efforts are being made – with relative success – to ensure that children are taught this subject. There were 11,830 French-medium primary schools, both public and private, in the country in 2012. These schools were distributed as follows (Table 3):
Table 3. Number of French-medium primary schools in the country
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(adapted from NIS, 2013:101)
In 2012, the number of primary school pupils attending French-medium schools was 3,031,924. Generally, these children register in Class One when they are six years old and they reach the last class, Class Six, when they are 11 years. Their distribution per region is as follows (Table 4):
Table 4. Number of French-medium primary school pupils in the country
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(adapted from NIS, 2013:96)
It should be noted that the Northwest (6,966 francophone pupils) and the Southwest (6,464 francophone pupils) are the two Anglophone regions of Cameroon.
1.3.2 Primary teacher training
Certified primary teachers receive professional pedagogic preparation in schools run by the Ministry of Secondary Education (MINESEC). These schools are known by their French acronyms as ENIEG (Ecole Normale d’Instituteurs de l’Enseignement Général: Primary teacher preparation for General Education) and ENIET (Ecole Normale d’Instituteurs de l’Enseignement Technique: Primary teacher preparation for Technical Education). In 2012, there were 108 ENIEG and 8 ENIET schools in the country, distributed as follows (Table 5):
Table 5. Primary teacher training schools
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(adapted from MINESEC 2014: 23)
Entrance into these schools is via competitive examination and the candidates must meet the following requirements:
- be aged 17 to 32 years;
- be a holder of the Brevet d’Etudes du Premier Cycle (BEPC: a certificate obtained after four years of secondary education in the French-medium system) or the General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level (GCE O’Level: a certificate obtained after five years in the English-medium system);
- or be a holder of the Probatoire (a certificate obtained after six years of secondary education in the French-medium of education);
- or be a holder of the Baccalauréat (a certificate obtained after seven years of secondary education in the French-medium system or the GCE A’Level (obtained after seven years in the English-medium of education.
Candidates holding the BEPC or GCE O’Level are trained for three years, those holding the Probatoire for two years and those holding the Baccalauréat or the GCE A’Level for one year. The certificate they are awarded is known by its French acronym CAPIEMP (Certificat d’Aptitude Pédagogique des Instituteurs de l’Enseignement Maternel et Primaire: Primary Teacher Training Certificate)
Certified primary teachers in Cameroon fall into four categories labelled civil servant teachers, contract teachers, “absorption” teachers and Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) teachers. Civil servant teachers are government employees that have graduated from a Government teacher training school and have been integrated in the State pay roll. Contract teachers are government employees who are recruited to teach but are not integrated in the corps of civil servants even though they have the same qualifications as civil servant teachers. The salary gap between these two categories can be as high as 40%. “Absorption” teachers are trained teachers who are called upon to work for 5 to 10 years for free while waiting for Government to process their files and absorb them as contract teachers. This category of teachers came into being when Cameroon was hit by a very serious economic crisis in 2003. It was declared a heavily indebted poor country and was placed under the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) structural adjustment plan. Recruitment of additional staff was not authorised but there was an urgent need for a greater number of teachers. To solve this problem, Government continued to train teachers, use them without paying them for a number of years and recruit them when there is an opportunity, with priority given to the oldest batch. Presently, there are many batches of absorption teachers on the waiting list for recruitment. The 2017 batch was reserved for teachers who graduated in 2014, served as teachers for three years in a public school and were less than 40 years old on January 1st, 2017. To avoid reaching this age limit, desperate teachers resort to various compromising practices.
Finally, PTA teachers are recruited by pupils’ parents. Parents are required to contribute a certain amount of money for each child in addition to the official registration fee. This extra money is used by an elected team of pupils’ parents to pay PTA teachers, buy benches if there is a need, build new classrooms or put up a fence round school premises. In practice, this team is made up of parents who are the school principals’ friends and it has been found in a number of schools that some team members do not have a child in those schools. The amount to pay for each child varies from 1,000 CFA Francs (£1) to 50,000 CFA Francs (£50) depending on whether a school is a new one or an old one. In 2012 in Cameroon, there were 56,026 government teachers in both English-medium and French-medium primary schools, distributed as follows (Table 6):
Table 6. Number of primary school teachers in the country
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(adapted from NIS, 2013:100)
This section considers in turn the syllabus designed for Levels One, Two and Three. The Level One English syllabus stipulates: “French and English are respectively the first and second language of communication and instruction and shall be taught as such.” The general objectives of teaching English in primary francophone schools are to enable the pupils to “acquire an elementary mastery of the language, that is, the aptitude to understand oral and written messages and to express themselves orally and in writing at school and out of school.” The specific objectives for this Level are:
- To introduce the four skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing.
- To teach the vocabulary of their immediate surrounding i.e. home and school.
- To introduce the alphabet, the sounds of English and some basic structures especially those that are needed for daily school activities: these will gradually be extended to those at home.
- Quote paper
- Jean-Paul Kouega (Author), 2019, The English of Francophone Speakers in Cameroon, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/505457