CBC Health Services, Partners poised to sustain Inclusive Education in the West Region

The CBC Health Services and her partners in the West Region have taken a stand to sustain Inclusive Education in the region. This commitment was taken during a meeting on July 14, 2021 between the CBC Health Services and the concerned stakeholders.

The meeting was organised to review the level of implementation of activities of the Quality Education For All Project in Lycee Classique and Government Bilingual High School Bafoussam. The Quality Education For All Project (QEA) was launched in 2018 in Lycée Classique de Bafoussam with the goal of ensuring Inclusive, Equitable and Quality Education for Visually Impaired Children in the West Region of Cameroon. In 2019, the project was extended to include learners with other forms of disabilities and the pilot project site was extended to include Government Bilingual High School (GBHS) Bafoussam.

This project seeks to contribute to the attainment of the Liliane Foundation’s vision of a world in which children with impairments participate as equals through ensuring inclusive, equitable and quality secondary education for learners with impairments in the West Region of Cameroon. Thus, the main objective of this meeting was to appraise the level of implementation of project activities; to identify the major challenges and to chat the way forward.

Achievements of Quality Education for All Project (QEA)

  • There is an existing Memorandum of Understanding signed between the CBCHS and the Regional Delegation of Secondary Education for the West Region to facilitate access to quality inclusive education in mainstream secondary schools for learners with disabilities in the Region.
  • The Regional Delegate of Secondary Education for the West Region now provides oversight of the project which guarantees its sustainability. In addition, a functional stakeholder and management committee of the project has been put in place with 3 sub-committees (Technical, Communication and Logistics) that are responsible for the planning, implementation and reporting of project activities.
  • More importantly, a Resource Room with assistive devices is currently being put in place in GBHS Bafoussam. That of Lycee Classique de Bafoussam was officially inaugurated by the Minister of Secondary Education in 2019. Moreover, school authorities, teaching staff and resource teachers have been empowered with knowledge and skills to mainstreaming disability in school life in the pilot schools.
  • School screening has been conducted and students at risk of disabilities identified have been referred for treatment as a means of preventing disabilities. Meanwhile, learners with disabilities have been empowered on the use of information and communication technologies and they now comfortably use the computer in their studies.
  • Pedagogic inspectors now mainstream disability aspects in their supervision and Lycee Classique de Bafoussam and GBHS Bafoussam now serve as a reference for good practices in inclusive education in the French sub-system of education in Cameroon.
  • All these efforts have led to a marked improvement in the performance of learners with impairments in the pilot schools.

Key Challenges faced by Quality Education for All Project (QEA)

  • Absence of permanent special education teachers in both pilot schools who are capable of supporting the instructional needs of learners with impairments.
  • Absence of clear job descriptions for school administrators, CISPAM, and the teaching staff on their roles and responsibilities in the education of learners with disabilities.
  • Some newly posted teachers to the pilot schools feel nervous when they meet learners with impairments in their classes for their first time especially when they had not be pre-informed.
  • Some communities still hold negative attitudes towards children with disabilities.
  • Inadequate financial support from pilot schools to CISPAM for braille transcription.
  • The poor performance of some learners in pilot schools and the absence of a resource centre in Government Bilingual High School Bafoussam which is a prerequisite for inclusive education also constitute some key challenges faced by the project.

Resolutions of Quality Education for All Project (QEA) Meeting

  • During the meeting, it was agreed that the principals of the two pilot schools for inclusive education shall each recruit a permanent special education teacher as a PTA staff in 2021/2022 academic year. The special education teachers recruited should be trained to be versed with two skills (Sign Language and Braille).
  • It was also agreed that an assessment of all students who do not perform well in school be done to determine the root causes and that at the beginning of each academic year, an orientation will be given to teachers on the type of students they will meet in their classes and how they can be able to ensure their participation during lessons. A special education teacher would do the orientation during staff meetings.
  • Sensitization campaigns on the right to education for children with disabilities should be carried out in town and in the hinterlands of the West Region.
  • Participants also agreed that support staff from CISPAM would be assigned to join the permanent special education teachers during examination periods in the pilot schools to assist in brailing and transcription of exam materials.
  • The roles and responsibilities of the different stakeholders should be designed for greater efficiency. Participants also agreed that the principal of GBHS Bafoussam was to create space for the resource centre while the CBC Health Services was to acquire the assistive devices for the centre.

The meeting, which was chaired by the Director of CBC Health Services, Prof. Tih Pius Muffih was also attended by the Regional Delegate of Secondary Education, Dr. Nganya Francoise, EDID Program Manager, Mrs. Agho Glory, Coordinator of Pedagogic Inspectors, Mr. Etuge Alexander, Principal of GBHS Bafoussam, Mr. Kuipou Maurice, Principal of Lycee Classique de Bafoussam, Mme Mbonjawo Denise, Director of CISPAM, Mr. Fondop Samuel, and Project Officer Quality Education For All Project, Mr. Che Manasseh Dji.