Panelists detailed significant progress in Cameroon regarding the expansion of access and reduction of gender disparities in schools.
Data gaps and lack of teacher specialization, for example on children with disabilities, present challenges.
The event demonstrated the need for reforms at multiple levels to sensitize donors, governments and civil society regarding the urgency of investing in education.
17 July 2019: An event on the sidelines of the 2019 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) considered the implementation of fundamental education reforms in Cameroon.The event took place on 17 July 2019, organized by the Permanent Mission of Cameroon to the UN and UN-Cameroon (the UN system in Cameroon), focused on access and quality of education, as well as on equity, in terms of inclusiveness. It also underscored the need for reforms at multiple levels to sensitize donors, governments and civil society regarding the urgency of investing in education.
Panelists detailed significant progress in Cameroon regarding the expansion of access and reduction of gender disparities in schools, despite increased student enrollment. They cited a new education strategy aligned with SDG 4 (quality education). Speakers noted that poor effectiveness and low retention impede achieving universal education.
Alamine Ousmane Mey, the country’s Minister of Economy, Planning and Regional Development, highlighted key aspects of education reforms in his country, namely promoting free tuition for primary education and reform of textbooks. He said low teacher retention is a challenge, and he called for more partnerships and support from all stakeholders to promote universal education.
Allegra Maria Del Pilar Baiocchi, UN Development and Humanitarian Coordinator in Cameroon, lamented security threats due to terrorism, noting that “education is under attack” in some areas of the country. She called for more financial support to overcome such challenges. Baiocchi also mentioned the Education Cannot Wait global fund, which aims to transform the delivery of education in emergencies.
Joseph Oye, Sightsavers, discussed improving education for displaced children, refugees and children with disabilities. Pointing to the many organizations working on SDG 4 in Cameroon, he also stressed that challenges include data gaps and lack of teacher specialization, for example on children with disabilities.
During the discussion, participants called for disaggregated data by gender, particularly related to disabled female students, and methods to enhance SDG implementation in an integrated manner.