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Chinese-built professional agriculture high school goes operational in Cameroon

By Kimeng Hilton Ndukong  (People's Daily Online)    17:52, August 18, 2017

Architect's presentation of the Yabassi professional agriculture high school, a gift from China to Cameroon. Photo: MINESEC Cameroon

As part of efforts to add more meaning to education and curb unemployment, Cameroon’s pioneer professional agriculture high school went operational last January 9 in Yabassi, Nkam division, Littoral region. The school is the first of 10 to be created in all of Cameroon’s 10 provinces in line with President Paul Biya’s policy of involving young people in third generation agriculture in order to boost output.

200 students admitted

The Yabassi professional agriculture high school with an enrolment of 200 students is a gift from China worth 7.5 billion FCFA (or 80 million RMB), with one billion FCFA (about 12 million RMB) being counterpart funding by Cameroon. The contract papers for the project were signed on September 28, 2012.

The deal was one of the eight measures reached at the Fourth ministerial conference of the Forum on China-Africa cooperation in November 2009 in Egypt. “This project is testimony of China’s commitment as Cameroon’s strategic partner through the offer of various forms of support,” said then Chinese Ambassador to Cameroon, Wo Ruidi in September 2012. The gift papers were signed for Cameroon by the Minister of Economy, Planning and Regional Development, Emmanuel Nganou Djoumessi, and Ambassador Wo Ruidi.

Students were admitted after an open entrance examination. Secondary school students are holders of the First School Leaving Certificate (primary school certificate), while those in high school are School Certificate holders. The Prime Minister, Head of Government, Philemon Yang had on April 8, 2016, signed an edict creating the Yabassi professional agriculture high school.

Close supervision of project

Prior to the inauguration, local administrative officials and Jean-Ernest Ngalle Bibehe, Cameroon’s Minister for Secondary Education, MINESEC, which oversees the school’s functioning, visited the site on several occasions to ensure that all was going well. “Government noticed shortcomings with normal technical high schools; reason why we created professional high schools,” Minister Ngalle Bibehe explained.

Prosper Dime Moutassi, the pioneer principal of Yabassi professional agriculture high school at the beginning of the year expressed hope that students will avail themselves of the professional training. He assured the public that all has been put in place for a smooth academic year.

Professionalizing education

Partial view of the completed Yabassi professional agriculture high school that boasts a pioneer enrolment of 200 students. Photo: MINESEC Cameroon

Following directives by government, MINESEC developed a programme for 10 professional agriculture high schools in the country, with one in each region. Thanks to Chinese support, the first of the schools is now functional. According to MINESEC, professional agriculture high schools offer students enterprise-like training. The Yabassi school offers courses in crop and animal production, and other cross-cutting modules. The school boasts 82 hectares of land, with about four used for constructing facilities. The remaining 78 hectares are practicing farms.

There are enough classrooms, equipped with benches, blackboards, tables and chairs for instructors. There are also dormitories for boys and girls with beds and filing cabinets, a sports complex, offices, libraries, laboratories, a 160-seat restaurant, a 375-KVA generating set and electrical connection to the national grid. Other facilities are three boreholes, a poultry farm, solar panels on most buildings, two tractors, maize drier, two three-phase ploughs, two sprinklers, water pump, about 40 computers and residences for administrative staff.

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More schools imminent

So far, six sites have already been identified for the construction of other professional agriculture high schools. These are Wakwa in Adamawa region, Batouri in East region, Yagoua in Far North region, Lagdo in North region, Bangam-Mbouda in West region, and Lionga-Buea in the South West region. The Ministry of State Property, Surveys and Land Tenure on November 18, 2013 signed edicts ceding land for the construction of the schools.

Yabassi professional agriculture high school students are expected to help boost Cameroon's crop output. Photo: Cameroon agriculture archives

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Secondary Education in this year’s budget has allocated 660 million FCFA (about 7.9 million RMB) to begin work on the professional agriculture high schools in Yagoua in the Far North region and Lagdo in the North region.

Kimeng Hilton Ndukong is Sub-Editor for World News with Cameroon Tribune bilingual daily newspaper in Cameroon. He is currently on media attachment with People’s Daily Online in English. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Wu Chengliang, Bianji)

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