The Importance of a Parents/Teachers Association (PTA) in Cameroonian Educational Systems.

February 7, 2013 § 1 Comment

The parents/teacher association is a body comprising of parents and teachers of an institution of learning who meet annually to discuss matters on the educational, moral and spiritual well-being of the students or pupils of a particular learning institution, either at the elementary or secondary school level.

This body is basically made up of two arms; the Executive and the General Assembly. The general assembly meets once a year, while the executive meets as often as the need arises.

Every child begins life within a particular family. The child is raised and taught some fundamental principles in life, such as what is right and what is wrong, the kind of behaviour that society approves of and those which society regards as anti social. Thus children begin life in a home environment learning and being exposed to life principles. Gradually, as the child grows older it becomes an imperative for the child to meet persons in a different environment where formal education takes place.

This new environment is the school. At the beginning children have difficulties coping and accepting this “strange” place but they gradually begin to become accustomed to it. What is very important to note here is that discipline and learning which was initially and exclusively the responsibility of the parents, must now be shared between parents and teachers. The child begins to learn a lot of things and very new things, new ways of doing things and so forth.

Besides the teachers who have become a new phenomenon in the child’s life, other pupils or students play a role in the life of the child because of constant interaction and communication.  This phenomenon sometimes brings confusing in the mind of the child. It is however a very important process because it is the only means by which a child can acquire formal education and training and gain financial independence in future. Teachers become the watch dogs and the regulators of the new way of life, helping the child to adapt to everything seemingly new for the child.

But because the parents still play an important role in the life of the child, it becomes necessary and important to group the two main actors at this stage of the child’s life to work together in raising a complete human person. The idea of a PARENTS/TEACHERS ASSOCIATION came to be borne out of the necessity to avoid conflicting methods and approaches in raising the child. Suffice it to note that this is a purely ENGLISH SPEAKING TRADITION, in all institutions of learning be it private or public, you will not find one single school in the NW nor SW Regions of Cameroon without a body or association named a PARENTS/TEACHER ASSOCIATION. They have contributed immensely in the educational, material and moral well-being of the children.

 

SHARING IN UPBRINGING:

From the very moment that a child begins school, his or her life is no more influenced by the home environment, but also by the new environment which is the school. Parents are the primary actors in the life of the child and the teachers are secondary actors.  Both are participating in the upbringing of the child in different ways and as a result it becomes very important to establish a common forum for both parents and teachers to come together to discuss issues pertaining to the welfare of the children.

While the children are in school the teachers are acting in loco parentis, especially in the area of discipline, and therefore the necessity for both parties to meet annually to exchange notes and form a common ground of action in the best interest of their children.

 

ACADEMIC WORK AND PERFORMANCE:

Teachers are more involved in the academic work of the children and must see to their academic growth, strength and soundness. Parents are more or less active in this area. It becomes imperative therefore for parents and teacher to meet and discuss the academic development and performance of the children so as to enable the parents to participate by allowing them through discussions to appreciate the standard of learning imparted to the children, be able to understand the difficulties which some children face. Parents are able to the see the importance of following up their children at home because they know the particular difficulties which their children are encountering at school.

Thus in a forum of this nature there is bound to be an entente between the parents and the teachers which go a long way to help the children and take away unnecessary blames and accusation which sometimes, bring gross misunderstanding between parents and teachers with regrettable consequences. Meetings like this have the advantage of a very frank and open discussion which leads to resolutions being taken in the interest of all concerned and as a result avoid unpleasant situations.

 

STANDARDS AND VALUES:

Every educational institution has its own set of values by which the standards of that institution are assessed. It is not sufficient for the school to send to parents, a list of school rules to which the children are to be subjected. It is most important for parents to understand the essence of those rules and regulations. Such understanding can only be derived in a forum of the Parents/teachers meeting. Parents need to understand the rules and regulation so as to encourage their kids to abide by them and as such learn their support to the institution to keep the standards and values in the interest of the kids. Where this is not possible, parents become disgruntled and critical of a system which is rather beneficial to their kids. ( e g owning mobile phones or other electronic gadgets in school, assorted clothes in school, extra food in school etc).

For the standards and values to be maintained parents must contribute their own measure through understanding and participating in maintain those standards.

 

MORAL ATTITUDE AND BEHAVIOUR:

The school environment is far different from the home. It is place where we see a conglomeration of all types of attitudes and behaviour. There is no gainsaying that parents have different approaches in raising and disciplining their kids.  Here we dare say that there are two types of parents the “no nonsense” parents and the seemingly “I don’t care parents.” Before coming to an institution like Holy Cross, most children have spent at least the first eleven years of their lives with their parents and under their discipline.  Mindful of the fact that, parents have different approaches in the disciplining of their kids, teachers are faced with children of varying types of behaviour, albeit positive and negative.

It is incumbent on the teachers to help children whose behaviour and attitude leaves much to be desired. At this stage of their growth kids suffer from peer influence and will readily copy what their friends do without giving a thought to the correctness of what they are copying.

Such problems are well addressed in PTA meetings so as to keep the parents aware and so enable them to be vigilant with their kids while they are on holidays. Some kids exhibit tendencies which their parents are not aware of and these are brought to the notices of the parents when parents and teachers meet under the umbrella of a PTA meeting. The fact of having parents assemble as we are doing today is very important because parents also have the opportunity to discuss first hand with teachers on individual and private basis. Parents become aware of certain negative attitudes of their kids known only by the teachers, and this helps the parents to work in correcting such attitudes while the kids are on holidays.

 

SHARING OF IDEAS:

From the above expose, we realize that the PTA meeting is very important as a forum for sharing ideas all geared towards helping our children develop both academic and moral strength and integrity. As parents we want the best for our kids and we want to know and understand the environment in which they learn, the comfort of the environment the facilities made available to achieve a holistic education.

It is a well known and established fact that school environment and regulations have been improved and made more conducive for learning over the years through a great deal of participation and contribution of ideas  from parents.

Parents and teachers have worked together to improve on the living standards of the children, by providing structural facilities, such as good water supply, sports facilities, medical facilities, etc,  which have contributed a great deal in enhancing the living standards of the children, as well as their  condition of health, etc.

 

CONCLUSION:

The more comfortable our children are in schools, the less worrisome we shall be as parents and as the old saying goes more heads are better than one, a PTA is very essential to cater for the needs of our kids to help them perform excellently both academically, morally and spiritually. The PTA is therefore essential to achieve these goals.

 

Author – Maureen Lebong Morfaw.

 

“UBSU Membership Is Not Automatic” – V.C of the University of Buea says.

November 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

The Vice Chancellor of the University of Buea, UB, Dr. Nalova Lyonga has insisted that membership into the University of Buea Students’ Union is not automatic. This has been the bone of contention between UB administration and executive members of UBSU, following a ban by the Vice Chancellor on the forceful collection of dues by UBSU.

At the close of the orientation and academic week, the UB VC, in this exclusive interview with The Post, reiterated that membership into UBSU is not obligatory and no student should be forced into it. Among other things, she talks about her relationship with the former VC, Professor Vincent Titanji. She also promised to deal with sexual harassment in UB, saying it is an abuse. Read on!
From Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Teaching, Professionalisation and Development of Information & Communication Technologies to the Vice Chancellor of UB, how are you finding your new job?

I’m enjoying it. The areas that I am intervening have increased. It is not a problem. It’s really not new. Most of the programmes are familiar. I have to spend a few sleepless nights to get all the files done. It is fine, despite some few stubborn kids that I have on campus.

Looking at the tight schedule you have been going through in recent months, were you aware that this is the kind of atmosphere that awaited you?

I think so! My ambition is to take UB a notch up from where we were; reinforcing research, teaching at the undergraduate level and improve the performances of our students. We know that we are faced with a generation that does not like to read. And what do we do to improve the performance? I knew that there are lots of things we’re going to do. We’re busy on campus to ensure everybody who comes into UB must know what they have come to do. The university is not a place for people to make a home for more than three years.

What kind of UB did you inherit from your predecessor?
I inherited a good UB. There was no problem with that. The former Vice Chancellor insisted on research. He is also a seasoned researcher and his Bio-technology unit is doing a lot for UB. I am happy and proud still having him work in UB. All I am doing is moving up from there.

There have been lots of actions in UB recently… 
We’ve been doing online activities in UB for about three years. We’ve some experience in that but each time you come in, there is something new. This time, we added the MTN dimension on the online. All payments by students had to be done online – MTN Mobile Money. It was quite a challenge, but I thank the management of MTN for accepting to come with us, at somewhat short notice. We worked hard to synchronise the two systems.

Next year, when we shall be doing it, it will be easier than it has been. However, it is a very exciting experience. Our students are into the processes and there are no problems. I praise the freshmen because they have braved it; a lot of them have gone into the system and are able to do their registration without tears.
We’ve also been preparing for the new academic year. We had an Academic Planning Week with intensive workshops. We emphasised on teaching methods, especially towards the new recruits we had from the 25,000 job seekers the government recruited. We can’t just send them to the classrooms. We had to prepare them for the Anglo-Saxon styled university that we are.

For the existing lecturers, some old teaching methods had to be reviewed. It was an induction and refresher courses sessions. We also focussed on how to evaluate the student(s), how to use the classroom space and the issue of sexual harassment in the university milieu. We were looking inwards and to see the improvements we can do. Now we are ready to get into the classrooms, get the students to work and pass their examinations.

Observers of UB say the power of the VC stays in the VC’s office and not elsewhere. Where are we with the relationship between the UB administration and the UBSU?
There are a lot of misinterpretations of things. I don’t know if there is any limitation to the powers of the Vice Chancellor, especially when people come in with their own rules. UB is a community like any other and they must have their own rules and regulations.

I have very good relations with the students, there are many of them doing well but there is a group who call themselves student leaders, who do not want to toe the line. Recently, we had a slight disagreement about collecting union dues.  They want to collect union dues in their own style; stop students anywhere in the campus and tell them show me your blue, red or black ticket…

It’s not correct. I will not tolerate that. They have gone ahead and printed tickets on their own and stopping students on campus to show evidence of having paid union dues. We discuss with them and tell them, these students are not yet members of the UB family; they don’t even know you, they don’t know what you are offering them, how do you think that they will have the confidence to offer you their money?

We told them we’ve designed the orientation week in a manner that the students and the academic staff will have the opportunity to address the students once the academic staff is done with academic activities. The student leaders will have 15-20 minutes to address the students, tell them what the union is all about, tell them the good things the union can do for them and urge them to voluntarily adhere to the union. Anybody who is a member of a union must pay dues, only after you have paid your dues that you become a member of a union.

You can’t compel anybody to be a member of a union. It is not automatic. There are other associations in UB besides UBSU. A student may want to belong to other associations; he/she may join that association, pay the dues and move on. Nobody or whatever student leaders should take upon themselves to force students to be a member of a union. These student leaders went to the extent of stopping a CRTV live broadcast on campus.

That’s not done! There are certain things that we will not allow on the UB campus. Collecting dues, yes! Nobody has a quarrel with that. That’s why we put them on orientation, talking with their teachers, we didn’t make any distinction. The teachers talk and the students take their cue. After that, the students set up their tables and collect their dues. If the student leaders think that they are going to do it like hooligans, then we say no.

How have you been managing the situation on the ground?
We’ve no problems at all. We made them toe the line.  The last orientation session by the Faculty of Science was very beautiful. The student leaders wrote down what they wanted to tell their peers and read it to them. That was beautiful. All we are asking for is order. Anybody who doesn’t like order will have a problem in UB. UB has to continue the way it should be. We’re working as a community, we need to discuss, arrive at what is good for the community.

What does the text from the Ministry of Higher Education say about student union dues in UB?
The Minister says clearly in Article 10 of the text; every student has the obligation to pay his/her membership dues. The emphasis is on MEMBERSHIP DUES. What is membership due? It means a member pays the dues of an association in which he or she is part. You can’t pay dues to an association in which you do not belong. This is what the students have to understand.

In Article 23 of same document, the Minister says that a student may belong to an association recognised by a State institution. When I asked a student leader, what do you understand by this? He told me that MAY means MUST. I don’t know anybody who has studied English who will ever understand that MAY means MUST. The student was talking in front of about five of his Professors in one of the orientation sessions, trying to enlighten them (the professors) about the text.

I told them that there is no contradiction about those two articles. The Minister is saying if you want to join the union or any other association, please; pay the dues of that union or association. But if you do not belong, then you don’t pay. That’s what we’re saying. If the students are brandishing the Ministerial text, then they should read it very well. If they don’t understand it, we will get them to understand.

UB is styled from the Anglo-Saxon tradition, are the intrinsic values of that tradition respected?

There are lots of the Anglo-Saxon values that we’re putting in place. Top on them is dialogue. There is a lot of dialogue around here. I will call it the English-speaking tradition, which prides itself on dialogue. We have different levels that the UB administration and the students can hold that dialogue.

Beginning from the classroom itself; we have class leaders, who take attendance, right up to the departmental level, faculty level and to the central administrative level. These are all avenues for dialogue. That’s the goodness about the English-speaking tradition. There is a lot of debate and sometimes, we even abuse it. People just like polemics for the sake of arguing. We’re doing a lot of discussion out here.

We also have a lot of quality assurance, which is an integral part of the English-speaking tradition. We will continue to do that in UB. In UB, we believe in training the teachers. Most of the time, after the PhD, we simply move into the class. No! A PhD does not make a person a teacher. You have to be taught how to teach. You have to put yourself in the shoes of the learner in order that the learner must understand what is going on.

We believe that there should be freedom, that’s why we’re talking about sexual harassment. So many people want to use the power of the teacher. We have often told the student, don’t be afraid, if there is anybody who is holding you for any reason, report to the Academic Office. Then, it is not that teacher who will mark your paper, someone else will do it. We will always cross check. I am saying that if you are harassed in UB, then you like to be harassed

Source: Cameroonpostline

The Joy of Sacrifice

August 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

Some once told me True Love existed and I went hell high laughing my guts out. (True Story) Kinda strange to know later on that SHE actually laid the truth all out. The art of loving is not just caring, cause if that’s the situation then every one does love. Every one shows care, compassion and affection for those they want to either woe or maintain as their soul mates. Not everyone actually Truly Loves. Unless a guy/girl is capable of putting their lives on the line for another with both arms and focus involved, entailing the ultimate art of SACRIFICE, then that person really doesn’t love truly  He/She is merely doing it for the fun of it.

Starring into the cloudy skies of our present days and watching the clouds form, I realized one thing; The path to success in life is always under construction. Succeeding in life demands that you try as much as possible to create an equilibrium in your environment which will foster the growth and enhancement of economic, political  financial and most importantly your Social standings. For these statuses to be achieved, you need not be a novice but a regular, if not a professional in the mastery of your life in your hands. Knowing how to control it is the ultimate Key.

Challenges when taken result to grabbing experiences which won’t have been achieved if you didn’t risk the chance or opportunity. Like the saying goes, “Do not wait for things to happen, go out and make them happen”, so do I say as well that with every challenge which comes your way, you must take the risk and grab it, deal with it with caution and do not get carried away by either the excitements or the sadness of it cause you’ll learn an important lesson. There are very many negatives and positives  The negatives can’t be avoided and that’s what you should look most into. See where you erred and correct yourself. With the positives  be grateful you passed that side of the test and further improve on how you can develop that section. When you make trust an issue, do not let it go till the end cause you’ll end up with one of the following two things;

1. A good relationship, or

2. A good lesson ( from a bad relationship)

Look into the negatives of life positively and you’ll find the gold which lurks around it waiting to be extracted. Experiences are the best of all teachers in life. A good teacher is one who lets you get the experience first before sitting in class. Then you’ll succeed beyond doubt. Life and the Society play the role of that same teacher who lets you get the experiences (joys and pains inclusively in life) before sitting in their class rooms where they teach you a little thing or two. They of course do expect you to be positive with everything, if not, being Logical is best.

Making a Sacrifice for the benefit of the others, for their growth and mind and person, no matter how the sacrifice is made shouldn’t be taken for granted. It takes a lot to build a relationship same as just one word/act could end it. The reason behind the splits should be looked upon though not for the harm they’ve caused but for the joy and grace of the experience achieved. An idea, no matter how small it is can conquer the toughest of warriors, kingdoms and minds.

If you’re looking for someone to blame, do not blame the person nor the tongue, but the Idea which was conceived and executed. Look into the idea and at least see the goodness which lies in it for you, your future and personality.

I have loved, I love and still will Love. But never have I had such an Idea and executed it. It’s a sacrifice I made, not primarily for my benefit but because I understood you, saw where you were strong, saw where you were weak and needed an upgrade and Primarily because I Truly Loved you!!

Letting you go is my Ultimate sacrifice and proof of how much I believe in You.

2012 Apocalypse Explained by the Mayan Myth!!!

February 27, 2011 § 6 Comments

[National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City...

Image via Wikipedia

Is the Mayan myth actually just an apocalyptic prophesy or is there empirical evidence to proof this assertion? This video from the National Geographic Channel explains that the world will probably meet up with its worst fears on the 21st of December, 2012. But then, why are there many postulations about the year 2012? With the use of Anthropology, an ancient society called the “Maya” is investigated with respect to their belief and practice in Astronomy. With their belief and study in astronomy, they were able to create the Mayan Calender which as is seen and explained in the video ends on the 21st of December, 2012. First it’s the Illuminati and other conspiracies. Now it’s a scientific prophecy by the Ancient Mayan Civilisation!! What else?? Is our world really coming to and end? Could this be the end of our civilisation? What’s your opinion? My opinion is, lets wait and see. Besides, 2012 is just a few months away.

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