By Mua Patrick Mughe in Yaounde
Public Service and Administrative Reforms Minister, Joseph Le, was visibly on a hot seat last Thursday at the National Assembly, when the Member of Parliament, MP, of Menchum North Constituency, Hon Kum John Nji, took to the rostrum to ‘grill’ him on the fate of some newly recruitment 1,000 bilingual teachers in the country. In his oral question Thursday, the lawmaker quizzed the Minister on the state of progress of the recruitment of the 1,000 bilingual teachers, ordered by the Head of State in 2017.
The seasoned pedagogue turned politician, had reminded the Minister that the decision to recruit the 1,000 bilingual teachers was one of the striking measures taken by the Head of State to curb the crisis prevailing in the North West and South West regions of the country.
Hon Kum John Nji said in his dual capacity as an elite and politician from one of the said two troubled regions that: “I went around my electoral constituency to inform the population of the measures taken by the Government to overcome the crisis, in particular the above mentioned recruitment. Unfortunately years later, some of these young teachers are still waiting for their service numbers”.
Invincible hand depriving some of Biya’s decision?
He continued that: “These service numbers are the irrefutable proof of their recruitment into the Public Service. Does this situation not support the idea within the English- speaking community that when an issue concerns their regions, it is neglected; or that there is an invisible hand that deliberately deprives these teachers of the benefits of the Head of State’s decision?” In response, the Minister began by recalling that within the framework of reducing the deficit of teachers in scientific and technical subjects, President Paul Biya had in 2017 instructed the recruitment of the said 1,000 young bilingual certificate holders into the Public Service.
He said 903 candidates declared successful had effectively assumed duty at the Ministry of the Public Service and Administrative Reform, on 12 January 2018. In addition, the Minister continued, “it should be noted that successful candidates were recruited by means of employment contracts and their remuneration conditions are those provided for in the salary scale applicable to State employees governed by the Labour Code”.
“Subsequently, the successful candidates were posted to regions where priority needs for teaching staff in scientific and technical subjects had to be filled,” the Minister explained. Concerning their financial insertion into the State payroll, Minister Le said the processing of the related files began as soon as they were placed at the disposal of the Ministry of Secondary Education in 2019.
In responding to another question from Hon Kum John on the exact number of bilingual teachers who have already received a service numbers, the Minister began by reiterating that the recruitment of 1,000 bilingual teachers, prescribed the Head of State in December 2017, had a dual objective of curbing the deficit of bilingual Science Teachers throughout the national territory as well as resolving the crisis prevailing in the North West and South West regions.
“80% of the teachers from NW, SW”
Out of the 1,000 candidates selected, he said 80% originated from the North West and the South West regions and 20% from the eight other regions. He explained that: “From the statistics obtained after, it was noted that 978 candidates selected effectively submitted their files to the…Committee. As at date, we have 780 service numbers of bilingual teachers that have been generated by my competent services…”.
Quizzed on the fate of bilingual teachers whose files are still pending, the Minister quickly noted that: “These files are pending for various reasons, which were brought to my knowledge recently: absence of documents, such as responses from authentication of diplomas by institutions that have issued them; absence of attestations of effective presence at duty post; absence of certified true copies of the required diploma(s);absence of attestations of presentation of original copy of the diploma; absence of the certificate of non-conviction; awaiting equivalences of diploma obtained abroad…”
“The recruitment of 1000 bilingual teachers is the subject of special attention, and as soon as a file is complete, and there is a response from the authentication request of the diploma or the equivalence of the foreign diploma presented by the candidates, we process it with all possible diligence. I also note that there is no particularity, nor segregation, let alone marginalization in the processing and management of users of the public service, which is accessible to all, without any discrimination,” he added.