The level of education is generally low in Cameroon, where violence and conflicts affect the school system in the north, southwest and northwest. The French and English speaking areas have partly different school systems.
The children must start in compulsory six-year compulsory school when they are six years old. Under normal circumstances, almost all six-year-olds start school, according to the UN agency Unesco. However, many of them drop out prematurely – only 70 percent of children leave primary school.
- COUNTRYAAH: Country facts of Cameroon, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.
The government has made several investments in the school system, but there is still a shortage of classrooms, materials and teachers. In recent years, in addition, violence in the country’s northern, northwestern and southwestern parts (see Current policy) has forced thousands of schools to close and hundreds of thousands of children have gone without schooling.
The schools are run by the state, Christian communities or other private actors. The elementary school is free of charge, but the students pay for school uniforms and books.
There are regional variations and also differences between girls ‘and boys’ schooling. In the north where many live as nomads, the proportion of children who start school is much lower. In general, the proportion of girls who start school is lower than the proportion of boys.
After compulsory school, two voluntary continuation stages (corresponding to high school and high school) follow for a total of seven years. The division of stages differs between French- and English-speaking regions that have different colonial traditions.
In order to study at the continuation stages, students have to pay a school fee, which means that many parents cannot afford to let the children go there. Almost half of all children read on after elementary school.
There are six state and one private universities and just over a dozen other higher education institutions. Students from well-off families often choose to study abroad, mainly in France or Germany.
English is the language of instruction at one of the state universities; others apply French. As in many other underdeveloped countries, many of those with a university degree emigrate to richer countries.
- Searchforpublicschools: Offers schooling information of Cameroon in each level – compulsory, technical and higher education programs.
FACTS – EDUCATION
Proportion of children starting primary school
95.2 percent (2017)
Number of pupils per teacher in primary school
Reading and writing skills
75.0 percent (2015) 1
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP
16.4 percent (2017)
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of the state budget
16.4 percent (2017)
- Source: UnescoSources
Troop reinforcement to the border
The army sends troops reinforcement to the border with the Central African Republic to prevent its rebels from making new intrusions into Cameroonian soil. The soldiers from an elite force will try to block the almost 80-mile border between the countries.
Armed men from the Central African Republic, where political chaos prevails, loot a Cameroonian village near the border. Seven people are killed, including a civilian, in a clash between Cameroonian soldiers and the rebels.
The ruling party wins the election
The ruling RDPC wins as expected in the parliamentary elections but with a slightly reduced majority. The party receives 148 of Parliament’s 180 seats, five fewer than the outgoing parliament. The Social Democratic Front (SDF) increases from 16 to 18 seats. 55 of those selected are women. The RDPC also takes a superior victory in the local elections where the party wins in 305 of 360 congregations. The opposition accuses the authorities of cheating and international observers report many cases of irregularities and shortcomings in voting lengths. The public’s interest in the election is described as weak.
Cameroon takes control of the Bakassi Peninsula
Cameroon takes full formal control of the Bakassi Peninsula (see Foreign Policy and Defense) after a five-year UN-supported transition period, during which a new administration has been set up. All Nigerians living in the area must apply for a permanent residence permit or Cameroonian citizenship, and all Cameroonians must register with the tax authorities.
Former minister sentenced to prison
A former Minister of Health is sentenced to 20 years in prison for embezzlement of the equivalent of just over SEK 1 million. He should have had a business partner paid for by the state to deliver prepared mosquito nets to hospitals in northern Cameroon. However, some deliveries never happened. The businessman is sentenced in his absence to life imprisonment. The ex-minister has already been imprisoned since he was dismissed following a corruption investigation in 2008.
Gay activist murdered
Human rights groups urge the government to thoroughly investigate the murder of a known gay activist who was found tortured to death in his home. Eleven organizations said in a joint statement that this homophobic crime could have happened with the silent consent of the authorities. Homosexuality is referred to as a crime in Cameroon and can give up to five years in prison. The government rejects suggestions that it does not take the activist’s murder seriously (see also Social conditions).
General elections in September
President Biya announces that parliamentary and local elections will be held on September 30. The parliamentary elections would have been held as early as 2012 but have been postponed three times. The local elections have previously been postponed twice.
Elections to the Senate
The first indirect election for a new Senate gives the Cameroonian People’s Democratic Assembly (RDPC) 56 of the 70 seats at stake. The largest opposition party Social Democratic Front (SDF) gets the remaining 14 seats. An additional 30 seats are added by the president. Twenty-six of them go to the RDPC and the last four seats go to smaller parties but they are also occupied by people who are loyal to the regime.
Hostage is released
The seven Frenchmen, three adults and four children from the same family, who were kidnapped in February are released after just two months. They say they were held hostage by Nigerian Islamists Boko Haram. In videos posted on the internet, Boko Haram has demanded the release of prisoners in Cameroon and Nigeria and criticized France for sending soldiers to Mali to fight Islamists. According to the President of France, no ransom has been paid to the kidnappers.
French citizens abducted
The French government urges French citizens to leave northern Cameroon as soon as possible after seven French nationals have been robbed of an area near the border with Nigeria. Militant Islamists from Nigeria are suspected to have been behind the kidnappings.