The written phase of the 2019 session of the Cameroon General Certificate of Education (GCE) examinations, both ordinary and advanced levels has kicked off today May 27, 2019 nationwide amidst the deepening sociopolitical and security crisis rocking the two English speaking regions of Cameroon. The crisis has had a major impact on the learning process of these students considering that it is an English Examination and most of the students sitting in for the exams are in the two affected regions.
Today is the traditional Monday ghost town in the North West and South West regions. Students who don’t live close to their writing centers had to move in with friends or relatives who live closer to their centers. It is reported that thunderous gunshots have been heard emanating from the outskirts of Bamenda this morning. The examination is currently ongoing in various centers across the two restive regions under very tight security.
It has been a very rough academic year for most of these students, characterized by constant ghost towns, lock-downs, threats, and just three days ago, a form five student who has been preparing to sit in for the exams was kidnapped in Kumba by unknown gunmen. The abductors are demanding 5 million FCFA from the family of the student. Such incidents have not only played negatively on the physical and intellectual preparation of the students but have also affected them psychologically.
The statistics show that there has been a general drop in the number of registered candidates at all levels of the examination.
This year, 104457 candidates registered for the GCE as against 129071 candidates in 2018, thus, a drop by 24614 (19%).
GCE O/L 2019 = 65638
GCE O/L 2018 = 78579
GCE A/L 2019 = 30498
GCE A/L 2018 = 40192
GCE O/L Technical 2019 = 4700
GCE O/L Technical 2018 = 5300
GCE A/L Technical 2019 = 3621
GCE A/L Technical 2018 = 5000
The crisis is definitely going to adversely affect the outcome of the exams and the credibility of the results to be issued by the GCE Board is another major debate topic. Many fear that the results this year may be one of the worst set ever recorded by the Board.
This is particularly because the crisis started in 2016 when the students sitting in for the O/L were in Form Three. The GCE O/L syllabuses begin from Form Three to Form Five. As for the A/L students, they got into high school in September 2017 when the crisis was already on for almost a year. Thus, it is certain that these students have not had even just one effective academic year to prepare for the exams. It’s also obvious that most of them have not completed their syllabuses.
In places like Lebialem division and Muyuka subdivision where the impact of the crisis has been severely felt, many are left to wonder if there are going to be any exams there at all because no school attendance has been recorded there for several months.