By Bonkung Handerson
Workers of the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services (CBCHS) have responded favourably to the call from the CBC Executive President (EP), Rev. Dr. Ncham Godwill Chiatoh for support to teachers and workers of the CBC Education Department (ED) who have gone without salaries for eight months, owing to the crisis rocking the NW and SW regions of Cameroon since November 2016.
A cheque worth 60million fcfa raised by workers of the CBCHS was handed over to the CBC EP on August 17, 2017 at the Baptist Centre Conference Hall in Bamenda by the Director of Health Services (DHS), Prof. Tih Pius Muffih in the presence of CBC Department Directors and service heads at the Baptist Centre.
On behalf of CBCHS workers, Prof. Tih said the CBCHS could not be indifferent to the suffering of private education teachers and to the EP’s call to support as a family. The DHS revealed that CBCHS workers identify more with the pain that CBC teachers are going through without salary because the CBCHS faced a similar challenge in the 1990s when the workers could not be paid for 4 months. He hoped that the amount of 60m fcfa will assist to pay a month’s salary for the EB teachers.
In a moving vote of thanks, the CBC Education Secretary (ES), Mr. Nyanganji Job Indi said they intend to pay the salaries of Education Department workers beginning from January 2017 when payment ceased, thus acknowledging accrued debt of 8 months of unpaid salaries. The ES noted that his department has a total of 1.004 workers on the payroll who definitely are bread winners to their families. On this score, he remarked that the support from the CBCHS will have a trickle down and multiplier effect to the families of the affected teachers and workers. Mr. Nyanganji requested for prayers for the CBC Education Department, because as he put it, it is still uncertain when the crisis will end, citing the burning down of CBC Primary School Nkwen on the night of August 8, 2017 by unknown forces.
The ES announced the putting in place of a Steering Committee at the level of his office towards the modernization of CBC schools. This, he said, is an indication of the commitment of the Education Department to transform some schools into classical schools to meet up with the times.
Responding to the action of CBCHS workers, CBC EP, Rev. Dr. Ncham said the gesture is not to place the Education Department in a beggarly position but a true demonstration of family solidarity where one comes to the assistance of the other in need. As proprietor of all CBC institutions, the EP clarified that the crisis in the NW and SW regions also greatly affected the CBCHS resulting in low patient attendance and dwindling income. He noted in amazement that in spite of the difficulty, CBCHS workers have still sacrificed to contribute their individual salaries to support their ‘family members’ in the Education Department. On this score, the EP challenged the workers of the other Departments to rethink their strategies in contributing towards the salaries of CBC teachers as decided upon by the CBC General Council.
At the time of this report, the Evangelism and Missions Department, CBC Central Administration, Finance and Development Department, the Men, Women and Youth Departments have also raised substantial amounts while contributions from CBC Fields are still awaited. With this progress, the CBC EP is optimistic that his call for assistance to CBC teachers has not fallen on deaf ears.