The newly elected President of YALI West Africa Alumni Association Cameroon Nkemcha Martin Tiku has sighted poverty, parental unconsciousness and greed as causes of juvenile delinquency and deviant behaviors in Cameroon secondary and high schools and the way forward.
The months of February and March 2021 in Cameroon was highly characterized by many cases of juvenile delinquency and deviant behaviors in secondary and high schools of Cameroon urban cities.
Teenage girls drugged and getting involved in group sex and pornography with some school mates group of boys in Diedo Douala.
The whole class of students getting involved in drinking, drug abuse and group sex in a school classroom in Kribi and taking videos of the acts.
Over six students caught at a private residence at Ekounou Yaoundé drinking alcohol, drug abuse and getting involve in group sex while using their phones to record the acts.
Two students caught having sex in a classroom at Nkolbison Yaounde.
Student murders class mate in Douala with scissors and much more of such juvenile delinquency and deviant behavior cases reported in many urban cities of the nation on daily and weekly bases.
From the above mentioned cases, we can fine few things reappearing in utmost all the cases or related to acts of juvenile delinquency and deviant behaviors among Cameroon students.
Among these are:
– Students mostly within the ages of 12 – 20 years and above
– Alcohol consumption
– Drug abuse
– Sexual abuse
– Using classrooms for casual malpractices
– Android phones recording their acts
– Harmful objects with students in schools and above all
– Students being in private homes rather than in school during school hours.
All the above cases might have sounded strange or surprising to most parents, school teachers and administrators, the educational community and the entire population with most of them laying accusations on each other without asking themselves what could be the root causes of such increase of juvenile delinquency and deviant behaviors in schools.
However with my fifteen years of experience working with over 100.000 students in over 60 schools through counseling, orientation, coaching, mentorship and other youth empowerment activities, I can say there are many causes of juvenile delinquency and deviant behaviors in schools but among which there are three basic causes which if well handle will go a long way to eradicate such cases in Cameroon schools.
These three basic causes are: Poverty, parental unconsciousness and greed.
The average Cameroonian family living in the urban cities of Cameroon has at least five kids and most of the parents are either underemployed or unemployed. Despite the high level of unemployment the trend of life and cost of living continue to increase on daily basis without a relative increase in the income of the parents. In the midst of all this, every parent want to see their kids go to school and grow to have better jobs and be better than them.
For this reason, the parent father or mother and singles parents work, work and over work to overcome poverty and meet up with their family expenses.
School fees or registration in government primary schools stands at minimum 10.500 Fcfa for classes one to six.
This is three times more expensive then it was before 2002 when President Biya in his 10th February 2002 usual speech to the youth declared that school fee was abolish for all government primary schools.
School fees for government secondary and high school ranges from minimum 25.000 Fcfa – 28.000 Fcfa depending on the classes without forgetting exorbitant examination fees for examination classes. Since there are very few of government primary, secondary and high schools, parents are forced to send their kids to private schools.
School fees in an average private nursery and primary school ranges from 100.000 Fcfa – 200.000 fcfa depending on the class.
As for secondary education, school fees in an average private secondary and high school ranges from 150.000 Fcfa – 250.000 Fcfa.
University studies fees in government universities remains at 50.000 Fcfa but since a good number thinks that it is no longer professional and does not meet today employment market needs, they turn to send their kids to private higher institutions where they think there is some little professionalization and school fees ranges from 350.000 Fcfa – 450.000 Fcfa.
Beside school fees expenses from parents for their kids with little or no income, parents need accommodation for their families with an average apartment costing 75.000 Fcfa per month. In addition to this, the families still needs food, water, electricity, cloths, good health, transportation and others.
With all this put together, you fine parents with a minimum of 4.000.000 Fcfa annual expenses with an annual income of not more than 2.500.000 Fcfa.
This level of poverty pushes the parents to work day and night to meet up their expenses without having much time to know their kids and the things they do.
2. Parental unconsciousness
We have heard people say on daily basis that “not all biological parents are parents and some non biological / adopted parents are good parents” This is to explain to us the role of a parent to his children.
Being a parent is not just putting to birth children but being able to take care of the children in all aspects especially taking proper care of their children like checking their books, talking with them to know their daily life and challenges, advising them and monitoring their social life and evolution.
Checking what friends their kids hand out with, expecting their kid’s rooms to ensure what they bought for them is there or there is something there which does not belong to their kids.
Expecting their bags to check what they take to school and what they bring back from school, passing in their schools once in a while to see if they actually get to school every morning when the leave the house and when exactly they also closed from school to know at what time they get home.
As for those who already own phones, to check if they carry the phones to school mean while phones are prohibited in schools.
Check their kid’s phones often to see who writes or call them and check what they search on internet with their phones.
Be able to monitor and know if their children own new items not bought by them and if the children bought them be able to examine if the allowance they give them can buy such items.
That is the role of parents to their children. This enables the parents to better know their children, communicate with them, and become their best friends so as to constantly advice them, coach them, make them know their household economic situation, mentor them on how they can grow up to do better and continuously guide and monitor their evolution.
This greatly helps the kids not to go wayward or fall victim of bad external influence.
I chose to put parental unconsciousness as the second point of three basic causes of juvenile delinquency and deviant behaviors in secondary and high schools in Cameroon because it is closely related to poverty which is the first cause but have slight differences since it is experienced in poor homes and well to do homes.
Poverty resulting from underemployment and unemployment pushes poor parents to go hunting for money to meet up their family expenses and do no longer have time for parental care believing that the schools are educating the kids on all aspects.
However, some well to do parents are still very unconscious about their roles as parents.
They buy everything their kids want, have enough time they can spend with their kids, but unfortunately, over strictness and parental dictatorship does not permit a conducive environment of child parent talks.
For this reason, most kids get frustrated and begin to seek refuge and comfort out of home and often fall under bad peer influence with as result the increase in juvenile delinquency and deviant behaviors reported in schools daily.
Most parents need to become conscious of what being parents is all about for a well brought up child with just first school leaving certificate is better than a spoiled brad from the most expensive university in the world.
The absence of enough government primary, secondary and high schools has given way for the presence of more private schools and learning institutions in our urban cities.
We must say thank you to all those who have abandoned all other business sectors and have chosen to be business men and women in the education sector.
These set of people are commonly called school proprietors. While others especially religious institutions created private primary, secondary and high schools at the eve of independence to reduce the rate of illiteracy (reading and writing) in the country and also groom citizens through good values, morals and patriotism, most private schools today are created not because there wish to improve on literacy and instill good values, but because the owner / proprietors wish to make money.
In this process the core reasons of school as an institution that trains and educate citizens to become better and better the society evaporates.
Yes we all know a private school is a private own business and one of the main reasons of capitalist businesses is to make money and more money but is very different with schools.
This is because the primary goal of schools is to train and groom better citizens for a better society and by the time any other reason or goal is above that, the proprietors will grow richer and richer while producing gangsters as citizens for the country.
Our private school proprietors must balance the goal of using schools to make money with the primary objective of school which is to train and nurture good citizens.
If the money making goal is above 50%, the proprietors or school owners will become richer daily while training wayward citizens.
If the goal of training better citizens goes above 50%, the school proprietors will not be able to meet with expenses of the schools and earn some profit as business men and women that they are.
It must be 50/50. The government or public schools are not exempted from the 50/50 rule at the level school administration and management in the various government schools.
Government / public school administrators must transparently use registration dues or public funding for the purpose of which it is intended because the contrary will deprive the students of the necessary staff or infrastructure that will prevent the students from getting in wayward acts in and out of school.
To once more better understand how greed from private school owners (the desire to have more money and nothing for another) and government school administrators (embezzlement of registration fees and public funds) is one of the causes of juvenile delinquency and deviant behaviors in Cameroon schools, we need to know these few points:
– Since most school proprietors wish to have more money from their business, the usually recruit cheap unproductive teachers who can only sing the examination curriculum to the students without extra advice to the students on how they should behave in society.
– Every school is suppose to have guidance and counseling counselors who must listen to the students and guide them when they are in difficulties and notice they are not behaving well. But since most private school owners are thinking of more money in the pocket, these services are usually absent and the students are on their own.
– Under normal circumstances, schools both private and public must be fenced. Most government schools are not fenced and the private schools that are fenced do not have a strict control and security on who comes in and goes out at one time or the other. This makes going and coming out the schools very porous and the result is all the wayward actions we witness in Cameroon schools today.
– In a very fast growing world, neither one nor a single institution has monopoly of knowledge. Most private school owners and government school administrators and so satisfied with what they know and do not want to welcome innovative ideas be it from civil society organizations or other business consulting firms working in the domain of education, counseling, orientation, children upbringing. All this because they do not wish to spend a coin on what they have and the students can behave as they want or become what they want to be, it is not their problem since the money is already in their pockets.
These are a few and the list can continue.
The causes and little analysis made above is thanks to my experience in the domain of education especially on counseling, orientation, coaching, mentorship and follow up of students to be better citizens.
Considering that every problem must always have a solution, parents and school administrators both private and government schools must team up as one and with the expertise of the new generation guidance and counseling counselors, mentors and coaches to eradicate juvenile delinquency and deviant behaviors in Cameroon schools and society at large.
For more information on how this can work, contact us through the following address:
Nouvelle Route Omnisport Yaounde
P0 Box 3873, Yaounde, Tel: +237 676251436 / 667828983
Email: email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook: : https://www.facebook.com/ROBOGA1
By Nkemcha Martin Tiku
Youth Counselor and Social Entrepreneur
Founder / National Coordinator of ROBOGA Organization
Director of ROBOGA YALI Academic Complex
National President of YALI West Africa Alumni Association Cameroon (YWA-AAC)