Teachers in the two English speaking provinces of Cameroon have been on strike since Monday over a lack of funding for their areas and a perceived discrimination against English medium education. Cameroon is a bilingual country, with the majority of people speaking French but a significant minority speaking English. Teachers say that English medium education is underfunded and that Francophone staff are being recruited to teach Anglophone children.Lawyers in the same areas have been taking action for some time over a perceived attack on the legal system there. After the teachers took to the streets they were joined by other workers - people angry at rising prices, a lack of jobs and discrimination. In the North-Western city of Bamenda demonstrators were attacked by security forces with tear gas.
The situation in Cameroon reflects the baleful legacy of colonialism, with the country being carved up into different zones of influence by the French and the English at the beginning of the last century. Once again teachers are in the forefront of a struggle for justice. It is to be hoped that Francophone and Anglophone teachers will work together in solidarity to fight for more funding and social justice for the people of Cameroon.