This year’s celebration of the international youth day seeks to increase efforts to make education inclusive and accessible for all youths largely inspired by Sustainable Development Goal No. 4 which is to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. The role of governments, youth advocacy groups and the youths themselves is highlighted as a means to achieve this very crucial objective of “Transforming Education”
This celebration is timely, at a time when youths in Cameroon are preparing to begin a new academic year in September. Education is Central to development and peace outcomes in every society thus it very important that education, formal and informal be tailored to suit the needs of every society, constructed to produce the desired outcomes of every community, society and nation. United Nations statistics show that half of the children and adolescents aged between 6 and 14 lack basic reading and math skills despite the fact that they attend school. There is a global learning crisis and Cameroon is not exempted. A quality education not only ensures positive results, but prevents negative outcomes. It is important to invest in the creation of a solid youth in Cameroon not only aware of the stakes in their society but who can also actively participate in transforming their society. Unfortunately, we live in a society where young people’s opinions are hardly taken into consideration whereas their counterparts in other parts of the world exhibit leadership qualities and are learning skills which will inform their choices throughout their lives.
It is time for this dynamic to be transformed for the emergence of an upstanding and upright youth in Cameroon, especially for the youths in the troubled North West and South West regions, to see beyond the present circumstances and also assume their role in the peace and stability of these regions. Education has to be adapted to the changes that we face in our societies and also move along with the pace of the rest of the world. In this era of technology and globalization, it is crucial to ground youths through important principles in education and knowledge to make use of this trend and not to be carried away by the more ostentatious aspects of this technologically linked world.
Education for youths in the south west and north west is one of the top priorities of SODEI. SODEI regrets that at a time when efforts are made to transform education for young people, youths of the English-speaking regions of Cameroon are not even sure of a new uninterrupted academic year. SODEI joins the world today to celebrate the international youth day under this very significant theme involving education which it has sought to incorporate into its activities this past year through trainings and educational campaigns for youths, organizing mentoring sessions, free computer lessons, commemorating special events, specially tailored programs for women and girls and other youth activities.
However, we at SODEI believe in the will of Cameroonians to regain an even stronger peaceful society. We believe that the peoples of the English-speaking regions are eager to return to the normal functioning of schools in this coming September. We call upon local communities, elites, religious and traditional leaders, and the government to make commitments to ensure that the minimum conditions including safety and security, clean and stable environment amongst other things are in put in place to allow a conducive learning environment. We reiterate the need for additional efforts for education standards in these regions to be able to live up to the 2030 Agenda goal of quality education for all.
SODEI makes a call to action to all stake holders including elites, the diaspora, government, public and private sector, and the international committee to among other things put in place: