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HRST Commissioner meets high Government Officials in Cameroon

|   PAU

Yaounde, Cameroon: On October 6, 2020, the African Union Commissioner in charge of Human Resources, Science and Technology met with senior officials of ministerial departments related to her portfolio.

These meetings were part of her mission to Yaounde for the installation of the new Director of the Pan African University Institute of Governance, Human and Social Sciences (PAUGHSS). The Commissioner therefore took advantage of her visit to Yaounde to meet and exchange views with some ministerial officials.

The first meeting was held in the Ministry of External Relations where she was welcomed by the Secretary General of the Ministry, H.E. Mrs. MBALLA EYENGA Cécile, Minister Plenipotentiary superscale, to whom she introduced the new Director of PAUGHSS. She also requested the usual support of the Ministry in order to ensure the smooth functioning of the Rectorate and the Institute in the face of existing challenges.

The Secretary General, on her part, welcomed the new Director and once again expressed Cameroon's availability to make her stay and that of students enjoyable. She specified that a focal point designated on this purpose will work with the teams in place.

The delegation then went to the Ministry of Secondary Education where the Commissioner had fruitful discussions with the Minister Dr. Pauline NALOVA LYONGA. Various areas of discussion were addressed, including the CESA (Continental Education Strategy for Africa) and the Africa Innovation Expo programme, which were presented by the Commissioner. The Minister expressed her joy to see that her programme at the national level is in line with the continental programme.

She shared the Cameroonian home schooling experience during the period of containment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in line with the recommendations of the Extraordinary Virtual Specialized Technical Committee organized on 30 April 2020.

However, the Minister described this experience as enriching, since it led to a rethinking of education. Indeed, Cameroon is now turned towards the use of ICTs, especially distance learning, in the field of education. As another measure to reduce the spread of Coronavirus, the Minister addressed the issue of reducing the number of students in classrooms in order to respect barrier measures as much as possible.

Another key point raised in this discussion was homegrown school feeding. In this regard, the Minister pointed out that her ministry had a similar programme. The Commissioner therefore made the proposal that Cameroon host the 2021 edition of the African School Feeding Day. It should be recalled that this year's edition which was to be organized in Chad was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Minister said Cameroon is ready to host this event and added that teams will be formed to work on the preparation of this event.

Later in the evening, the Commissioner had a working dinner with the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buea, Prof. Horace NGOMO followed by the Director of the Advanced School of Translators and Interpreters (ASTI) Dr. SAKWE George as well as the Coordinator of the Translation and Interpretation Programme of PAUGHSS in Buea, Mr. Sebastien Gandou.

In the course of various exchanges with these authorities, she was informed about the latest developments in the PAUGHSS branch in Buea. She requested the continued support of the University of Buea in the smooth running of activities within PAUGHSS, and expressed the wish to see cooperation ties strengthened between the University of Buea and PAVEU.

The next day, the AU HRST Commissioner and her delegation were received by the Minister of State, Minister Jacques FAME NDONGO. HRST Commissioner started by presenting the new PAUGHSS Director to the Minister. This was followed by a working session. It should me recalled that before joining the African Union, Prof. Anyang Agbor, was working in the Ministry of Higher Education in Cameroon. So, it is always a pleasure for her to meet her former boss.

On the same day, the delegation had a meeting with the Minister of Scientific Research and Innovation. Prior to the meeting with Minister Madeleine Tchuente, the delegation was invited to the closing ceremony of the scientific week themed:” Science and fight against the COVID-19 pandemic”. Attending the event were: scientists, researchers and the Cameroonian academy of science.

The event aimed at optimizing scientific knowledge in order to fine-tune the strategy to fight against COVID-19, and draw lessons from past experiences.

This far, Africa is to be congratulated since it is the only place in the world where strong resilience to COVID-19 has been noticed, whereas elsewhere, the virus spread exponentially. The event was therefore an exchange platform to share research results. It was also an opportunity to organize research sessions in various scientific areas.

It is after this event that the Minister Dr. Madeleine Tchuente received the AU Delegation.

The AU HRST Commissioner was also received by the Minister of Basic Education, Dr. Laurent Serge ETOUNDI NGOA. During discussions, the Commissioner presented the 12 clusters of CESA. She laid emphasis on Cluster 12 dealing with Teachers Development and congratulated Cameroon which focuses more on CESA in the development of its education strategies, unlike other countries which mostly focus on SDGs. She therefore encouraged the country to continue in that perspective and expressed hope that Cameroon would send a report on its best practices in terms of education.

On his part, the Minister of Basic Education underscored that awareness-raising should be carried out in order to restore the image of teachers who used to be role models in the society.

Other points of discussion included class resumption within the COVID-19 context. The Minister presented the various efforts made by the Government to ensure hitch free school resumption. They include inter alia e-learning and recording of some course contents for dissemination in remote areas.

He nevertheless recognized that Cameroon has one of the best floras in Africa, and said the combination of traditional medicine to modern medicine could explain why the country and even the continent are more resilient to the pandemic.

He informed the Commissioner that in the days to come, an experience-sharing platform would be organized on the topic.


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Chancelle Bilampassi Moutsatsi