Yaounde (National Times)-The Minister of Secondary Education, Dr Pauline Nalova Lyonga, says as from next academic year, Agriculture would be included in the school curricula.
She made the statement on Tuesday, October 30, in Sa’a, in the Lekie Division of the Centre Region while co-launching the Regulatory Framework for the Integration of Agriculture into Cameroonian Schools together with the Ministry of Basic Education, Youssouf Hadidja Alim.
Dr Nalova Lyonga said Agriculture being the backbone of the economy would be taught at all levels so that children would not only see their parents practice it but get an academic background knowledge of it. “We want them to learn it like any other subject,” she said.
Other stakeholders present at the ceremony expressed their joy to see such an initiative come to pass.
According to them, Cameroonians must not be limited to public service and white collar jobs which are becoming scarce due to the growing population and high demand. Moreover, agriculture provides an avenue for self-employment, they said
The ceremony was also attended by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Henri Eyebe Ayissi. Sa’a was chosen because of its agricultural background being a major hub for cocoa production in the Centre Region in particular and Cameroon in general.
Cameroon is one of the largest agricultural producing countries in Africa. Products from Cameroon are sold in the entire Central Africa Sub Region and countries like Gabon, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Central Africa Republic and even West African countries like Nigeria depend on cash and food crops from Cameroon.
Garri, eru, vegetables and other staples are exported to Nigeria daily while plantain, garri, vegetables and spices cross the Kye-Osi border everyday into Gabon and Congo.
Moreover, some of the agricultural products from Cameroon are exported to European nations, especially France which is the hub for Cameroon bananas otherwise known as Makossa banana produced in Tiko, South West Region. Other cash crops like Tea, cocoa and coffee are also exported daily to European and Asiatic countries through the Douala Port.
This has ensured that agriculture employs about 70 percent of the population 1/3 of all Cameroon’s foreign exchange earnings. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, agriculture contributed about 76.38 percent to the country’s GDP in 2017.
In the meantime, agriculture is largely taught only in some specialised higher institutions of learning in Cameroon like the University of Dschang, the Benguela Agricultural Practicing School on the outskirts of Yaoundé, the Community Development School in Kumba, the University of Buea and the Catholic University Institute of Buea.
At the level of primary and secondary education, very rare lessons on agriculture are taught which ensures that many students go through education in Cameroon without a mastery of the practice, except for those who enroll in specialised agriculture schools. But with the new programme, agriculture would be taught to every pupil and student in Cameroon.