Bamenda: Roman Catholic Bishops decry “alarming increase” of exam malpractice 0

Catholic Bishops of Cameroon’s Bamenda Ecclesiastical Province have decried examination malpractice in the country’s 2023 session of the General Certificate of Education (GCE).

In their Tuesday, August 22 statement following a six-day meeting at Bishop’s House in Bamenda Archdiocese, members of the Bamenda Provincial Episcopal Conference (BAPEC) call for a collective effort of all education stakeholders to end the vice, which they describe as “alarming”.

“The alarming increase in the number and types of examination malpractices registered during the 2023 session of the GCE Examination is a subject of major concern to the Bishops,” BAPEC members say in the statement issued at the end of the 75th ordinary meeting that started on August 17.

They advocate for a collaborative approach, saying, “To adequately address this problem, we need the collective efforts of teachers, parents, religious denominations, and the Ministries in charge of education for the reinforcement of education in integrity, the establishment of discipline, and a culture of hard work and merit.”

The Catholic Church leaders further urge the GCE board to ensure “a better organization of the examination” and to adopt “measures that can reduce examination malpractices.”

In the statement that the Secretary General of BAPEC, Fr. Giles Ngwa Forteh, signed, the Bishops at the helm of Bamenda Archdiocese and the Dioceses of Kumbo, Kumba, Mamfe, and Buea also reaffirm their commitment to formal education as the Central African nation prepares to usher in a new academic year.

“As we approach the beginning of the 2023/2024 Academic Year, we reaffirm our commitment to education as a basic human right that works to raise men and women out of ignorance, poverty, and level of inequalities, and ensures sustainable development,” they say in their four-page statement following the meeting that concluded August 22.

Acknowledging with appreciation stakeholders’ efforts that made the 2022/2023 academic year a success, the Bishops make “a clarion call to all communities to work together towards the reopening of their schools during the new academic year so that our children are not left behind while the world advances.”

They caution those who have in the past prevented pupils and students from going to school urging them to reconsider their decision as they are “doing an irreparable damage to humanity and to their communities.”

In the August 22 statement, BAPEC members also express concern about the disrespect of human life and dignity in the West African nation following reported killings of civilians in the country’s Bamenda region.

They note “with deep regret the continuing and unfortunate situation of wanton killing, destruction of property and the attempt to manipulate and weaponized ethnic differences for the disruption of social cohesion.”

“No one should be misled; killing is a grave sin against the commandment of God: ‘Thou shall not kill’; stealing is a sin against the 7th commandment,” the Catholic Church leaders add in reference to the book of Exodus.

They call for “a fraternal openness that allows us to acknowledge, appreciate and love each other, regardless of physical proximity, regardless of where he or she was born or lives.”