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PTA Teachers - How to Get On State Payroll

According to a communiqué from the Ministry of Basic Education, some 2,970 PTA teachers, who teach in government schools, paid by the Parents Teachers Association, PTA, will be recruited as contract workers into the Public Service for the year, 2015. While interested candidates are urged to submit their documents at the Sub-divisional Inspectorate of Basic Education, there is need for such candidates to know that this is not a prerequisite for them to be integrated into the government teachers' scheme.


Interested candidates are first of all required to write a stamped application addressed to the Minister of Basic Education indicating the school in which they are currently working with a work contract signed by the President of the PTA and validated by the Sub-divisional Inspector of Basic Education of the area. Candidates also need to attach to their application; two identical passport-sized photos, certified copy of birth certificate, two certified copies of Teacher's Grade One Certificate, a photocopy of professional diploma, a certified copy of National Identity card and a Certificate of Non-conviction, amongst others.Candidates are also required to present a yearly attestation of effective service signed by the head teacher of the school they are currently working, a receipt attesting payment of salary for the past three months as well as a certified copy of marriage certificate for those who are married. PTA teachers wishing to be recruited into the public service are also required to write an undertaking to serve in the same duty post for five years.

When these documents are deposited at the Sub-divisional Delegation of Basic Education, a source at the Centre Regional Delegation of Basic Education says, the Minister of Basic Education creates a committee with the Sub-divisional Officer of the area as the chairperson. The committee is charged with putting files in an orderly manner and later pass on to the regional committee which classifies them according to the various regions of the country.

From the regional committee, the applications are sent to the central commission. It is at the central committee that the applications are examined according to the criteria put in place for the recruitment of PTA teachers into the government payroll. Thereafter, a list of those who have been retained and recruited as teachers into the public service is published.

PTA Teachers Hustling With Recruitment Files

Grade One Parent Teacher Association, PTA, teachers in the South West Region are now in frenzy, files in hand as the move from one office to another. This is as a result of a new recruitment recently launched by the Ministry of Basic Education, MINEDUB, for 2016 after this year's exercise that sparked off much controversy.

The recent exercise saw the recruitment of 210 teachers for the South West Region who have all been posted to the six administrative divisions according to need. The major difficulty for both recruited and those in process is to obligatorily make the journey to Buea for a medical certificate at the Regional Hospital. The question on every lip is why the various District Hospitals could not be associated to deliver medical certificates for the purpose?


The Regional Delegate for Basic Education for the South West, Ebai Maurice, yesterday, May 25, 2015, maintained sealed lips to Cameroon Tribune's request for an interview on the on-going recruitment as well as the posting of those already recruited. He however took the reporter to the Notice Board where the various postings of the 210 PTA teachers were displayed. As at yesterday, most of the recruits in the South West had completed their files and were about to hand them for assumption of duty, though not without hurdles. Of the 14 documents required, one major difficulty was obtaining a medical certificate at the Regional Hospital in Buea.One of the teachers who sought anonymity, expressed dismay that the journey to Buea had been expensive and superfluous. But within the administrative circles, the fear hinges on fake medical certificates often obtained without thorough examination in some health units. However, the rest of the documents, including family status, can be done locally. Such teachers have to undertake to stay in the same school for at least five years before any transfer. The newly recruited teachers for the South West Region yesterday began an orientation seminar at the Government Practising School, Muea, Buea, which is to run till Friday, May 29, 2015. They are being drilled on pedagogic skills, classroom management, capacity-building, gender approach to learning, multiple-grade teaching and inclusive education.

Meanwhile, the new recruitment currently underway in the country has sent a wave of Grade One teachers' certificate holders journeying up and down the South West Region to complete their files before the 30 May, 2015 deadline. Observers say it is another chance for those who missed this year's exercise.

PTA reorientation

Early this year, the Minister for Secondary Education, Louis Gbhs_project_executor_defending_aga
Bapes Bapes, signed a text redefining the structure and functioning of the PTA. The text spells out conditions for membership and the various actors and facilitators who will ensure the "smooth" running of PTAs in Government secondary establishments. Curiously, teachers have been left out.

The Parent Teacher Association, PTA, was initiated in the United States of America. It was a forum for teachers and the parents of students to debate pedagogy and thus find common ground on the intricacies of educating children. This too  was the original initiative, from the Anglophone perspective, when PTAs were eventually adopted in Cameroon.

The Francophone version of the PTA is called "Association de Parents d'Elèves", meaning an association of Parents of students. It can therefore be assumed that it is simply a social gathering where these parents can meet and get to know each other. Whether they debate anything substantial is a matter of conjecture. Without teachers it is highly improbable that they can delve profoundly into issues affecting their children's education. On membership the text states: "The parent who is declared at the moment of registration of the student shall be considered a PTA member.

The receipt issued by the PTA treasurer shall henceforth bear the following; 1) the student's name and class; 2) the name of the parent responsible for following up the child's school attendance; and 3) the telephone number or contact address of the parent. With regards to the association's bureau, the text clearly excludes teachers as it states that "Members of the school's administration-vice principals, senior discipline masters, chiefs of works and bursars and teachers in that school shall, under no circumstance, be part of the PTA executive bureau. Only school principals shall serve as 'de facto' technical advisers" This text, evidently, reeks of a ministerial conspiracy to kill the PTA, or at least, the Anglophone perception of it.

The new ministerial orientation will certainly render the association useless and out of the tune with the Anglophone perception of a PTA. Perhaps that is why the minister refrained from copying teachers, as he did other stakeholders, divisional officers, the police and gendarmes. Police and gendarmes, the text states, shall henceforth be part of PTA boards to "ensure that no funds are misappropriated." If the PTA becomes what the minister's text dictates, it will completely beat the imagination of anybody of goodwill. The paradox is unmistakable.

How can divisional officers, the police and gendarme, a category of people reputed for corruption, stamp out embezzlements? Perhaps, police and gendarme officers should also be appointed to the boards of all public corporations and government structures, especially so as the nation, for some time now, has been stunned by the mind-boggling amounts siphoned from the State coffers by some former directors of public corporations. Minister Bapes Bapes should have dreamed up this strategy long ago. If he did, the Ondo Ndongs and the Siyam Siwes would have been prevented from swindling the breathtaking amounts they have been jailed for embezzling.

It is still unclear how the presence of police and gendarmes officers in different PTA board meetings will be received. There are still many unanswered questions. How can an association of parents and teachers function if teachers are excluded? Has the minister created a new association to replace the old one? Has the PTA been transformed to a Parents' Association,PA, like what obtains in the Francophone sub-system? With the inclusion of DOs, police and gendarmes, can we now talk of a Parents-Dos-Police-gendarmes Association?

The minister's text clearly states at the preamble that "colossal sums" are sometimes embezzled and many teachers are ready to take up arms as they are mistakenly considered as the people who misappropriate these funds. Many teachers are sceptical that integrating divisional officers and the police into the PTA boards  will stamp out these "mal-practices."

A teacher, who spoke on condition of anonymity, is totally against the text saying that although it will reinforce the role of parents within the PTA, he fails to see how the text's implementation will make things any better. "It is even the Francophone associations that are rocked with scandals of financial misappropriations. To think that the minister is indirectly accusing teachers of perpetrating embezzlement in PTAs is a bitter pill to swallow…. I wonder if the minister can survive a proper financial probing in his ministry, if this is done," he said maliciously. One time member of the Parliamentary Committee for Education and former deputy director of exams, Honourable Tasi Ntang Lucas, expressed his incredulity:

"The text shows that the minister worked with very few "experts", if any. I believe that their ideas were not even taken into consideration. The text, therefore, does not reflect the collegiate action that modern management should pay allegiance to…." He insinuated the decision was, probably, not democratically arrived at. Moreover, the words in the text, which are loaded with ill-meaning and  awkward expressions, presuppose that on the whole, Cameroon is suffering from lack of accountability and transparency emanating from a lack of openness and integrity on the part of our leaders.

"This shows that what goes on in our school systems reflects what happens in our system of governance… The minister's refusal in the text to reflect our two sub-systems of education is deeply disturbing to the Anglophone mind. The PTA is a community of teachers and parents to ensure that the main goals of education, that is, curriculum development for critical thinking, the dignity and self esteem in schools for good and productive citizenship, are respected," Hon Tasi Ntang explains.  Commenting on the inclusion  of the police and gendarmes in PTA affairs, Hon Tasi Ntang argues that,

"Introducing the central administration and service men into PTA committees indicates that Minister Bapes Bapes believes his school representatives like principals and delegates have failed. We now have to cope with "La peur du gendarme", a characteristic of unfair and non-functional democracies." Hon Tasi Ntang states that gendarmes, the police and civil administration are sometimes the most oppressive and arbitrary arms of our government. "This only aggravates the horse-rider relationships that characterise our administration, resulting in a state of inertia, deadlock and paralysis."

He, however, wishes that, "In God's good time we shall revisit this policy and give Cameroonians, who are very concerned about the education of their children, a chance to perform effectively and efficiently." Several attempts to get the opinion of the Provincial Delegate of Education, over the controversy failed. It is highly improbable he can contradict his boss, the minister. A contrary opinion cannot be equally expected from divisional officers, the police and gendarme, who cannot express any opinion in public without clearance from their superiors.

Meanwhile, the North West chapter of Union of PTAs met over a week ago to evaluate the minister's text. Although they did not come out with any resolutions, it is highly unlikely that the teachers can accept what many in Bamenda describe as an indirect insult from the minister. By Emmanuel F. Sanosi