The Council of the Cameroon General Certificate of Education (GCE) Board has “exceptionally authorized” the registrar to extend the deadline for the 2017 GCE registration for the Ordinary and Advanced Levels in all centers across the country to March 20, 2017. The decision that comes after two other postponements was taken at the end of an extra-ordinary council meeting of the Board in Buea on Friday March 3. The previous deadline expired on Tuesday February 28.
The Registrar of the GCE Board, Humphrey Ekema Monono, told state radio and television on Tuesday that slightly over 70.000 candidates had registered nationwide to sit for the 2017 session of examinations organized by the Board—a figure estimated to be about three times less than the number that sat for the exams in 2016. The extension is seen by critics as a government move to lure teachers and students to go back to school as allegations are rife that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) could declare a blank academic year in the country due to the numerous teaching hours lost in the two English speaking regions.
According to a release read on CRTV Radio, the session that was attended by representatives of teachers’ trade unions, teachers’ associations of the South West and North West regions, religious and private institutions, “also unanimously called on teachers, students and pupils to resume classes latest Tuesday March 7, 2017 at 7:30am.”
It is the third time the deadline is being extended. Registration was initially due to end December 30, 2016 but rocking Southern Cameroons which has paralyzed activities in schools and courts forced authorities to postpone. Schools in the English speaking North West and South West regions have remained closed since teachers in the regions began a sit-in strike in November last year.
Despite the repeated postponements, some observers still believe the holding of GCE this year is still implausible. They argue that schools are yet to resume and students have been out of activity for months though government says “measures have been taken” to avert such.