Wednesday, December 11, 2013

At Its 20th Anniversary Celebration: Cameroon GCE Board Urged To Maintain High Standards.

*Also advised To Make Examinations More Inclusive  

By Christopher Ambe
GCE Board Registrar: Sir Monono  Ekema  Humphrey
Secondary Education Minister Louis Bapes Bapes,  last November 28, in Buea used the 20th Anniversary of the Cameroon General Certificate of Education(GCE) Board and the inauguration of its head office  to call on  the registrar of the examinations body  to continue maintaining the high standards the Board has set for itself. He reminded the Board of the need to implement recommendations of two recently held GCE syllabus review conferences
      "I expect you to start implementing the outcome of the syllabus review conferences in Limbe and Kumba", the Minister told GCE Board Registrar Monono Ekema HumphreyMinister Bapes equally implored the registrar to put in place “maximum security and adequate procedures for the credibility of your examinations” and to proceed with periodic review of syllabus content and assessment strategies so as to make the board’s examinations reliable and comparable to those of other examination authorities especially in the light of scientific,professional,pedagogic and technological developments
  “ If you do that and your staff continues to measure learning with honesty, that will  make the certificates you award veritable international currencies that will be accepted in the  international market place”, the minister told  Mr.Monono Ekema ,adding that “The Board has set for itself and its products high standards. I challenge you to maintain them”
     The Registrar was also advised to carry out studies on how to widen the types of special needs he can cope with in order to make the examinations more inclusive.
The minister acknowledged the achievements so far registered by the GCE Board and called for more.
    Stressing the need for state corporations and establishments to be results-oriented, Minister Bapes noted, “As the people hold the government more and more accountable, so too Government shall hold its agencies more and more accountable”
Talking about the new GCE head office, the minister said what has been realized is only part of a whole. “We know that the initial design was for Blocks ‘A’,’B’ and ‘C’ and the fence. Government has constructed Block ‘A’ and the fence. Blocks ‘B’ and ‘C’ are still to be constructed”, he said, announcing that construction works for Block ‘B’ will soon start.
He called on the registrar to ensure the cleanliness and maintenance of the new building, which he counted as one of President Paul Biya’s greater achievement projects. Minister Bapes commended Chariot Company and Ndowecam Enterprise for the construction works as well as TA Engineers and the Control team for supervision.
    The Minister recalled that he made the construction of a befitting GCE Board office a priority project when in 2008 he visited Buea and saw the rented buildings used as the GCE Board office, with all the attendant inconveniences.
Minister  Louis Bapes  presiding at the GCE Board's  20th Anniversary
Although the GCE board was created in 1993, the Government initially budgeted for the construction of the GCE Board office in 2009 but due to some difficulties, the contract was only awarded in May 2012 and signed in July 2013, according to the minister.
Earlier in his address, Monono Ekema Humphrey, who  became GCE Board Registrar since 2006 ,said  Decree No.93/172 of 1st July 1993 signed by the President of the Republic ,marked  official birth date of the Cameroon General Certificate of Education Board, adding that 1993 to 2013 marks twenty years and calls for celebration.

GCE Board Achievements
The Registar boasted that the Board was celebrating 20 years of significant achievements.
Mr. Monono Ekema said in 1993 when the Board was created there was no organizational structure. Prime Ministerial Order No.112.CAB/PM of 12 October 1993 provided the legal framework for an organizational structure.
   According to the Registrar: “In 1993 Messrs.Dioh Sylvester and Azong Wara Andrew constituted the only human resources of the Board. Today 2013 it has full Council and 92 permanent workers and more; in 1993, it owned no equipment. At the age of 20 she owns an appreciable number of computers, laptops, computer printers, risogragh printers, optical mark reader machines, and other modern office equipment
“We all know that examination results were managed manually using hand ruled broad sheets called Mark Check Lists. Twenty years down the line she has moved from one automated system to another passing through the Optical Mark Reader (OMR) scanners and forms to E-registration with the consequential gain in time.
“The Board has moved from publishing results in September as it did in its first examination session in 1994, to publishing results in July as it has been doing for the last couple of years thereby facilitating candidates’ admissions within and outside Cameroon.
“The Board has also moved from two examinations with 30 subjects to eight examinations with over 400 subjects, as well as registering a geometric candidate increase, from 23000 candidates in 1994 to more than 150,000 in 2013)
“In 1994 examiners marked examinations out of good will and for virtually no payments.Today, in its 20th year of experience, the Board succeeds to pay transport dues, script dues, and complete out-of -station allowances at the official rates.Furthermore, in its early year’s .Board workers went without their lean salaries for several months. Today (with reasonable salaries), Board workers are not owed any arrears.
“In 1993 the Board owned no car; today twenty years after, the Board has a modest fleet of eight cars including one truck and one bus. To God be the glory”
   The Registrar said when the Board started out in 1993,she was not known to any international association but today it is a tall member of two major International associations of educational assessment in Africa and the in the world.
“In that capacity the Cameroon GCE Board has been at the forefront of the organization in Cameroon hosting two AEAA conferences with the Board Registrar serving as former President on each occasion. The Board has also participated in two continental research projects-one on the development of Item Banking based on Item Response Theory and the second on the development of an African Indigenous Data Processing Software,” Monono Ekema said.
    Other achievements of the Board include two successful syllabus review conferences organized-one in Limbe for general education subjects and the other in Kumba for technical education subjects; the publication of research papers in International journals by Board chairman and staff; the GCE Board has also published two books loaded with useful material for in-service capacity building; the GCE board is now using more modern equipment to transcribe questions for visually impaired candidates as well as extending Board examinations to other categories of candidates with special needs.
It should be noted that the above achievements have attracted numerous awards and recognition on the board and its Chief Executive Officer

Gratitude to Government
Partial View of New  GCE  Head Office ,Molyko-Buea
While thanking Government for funding the realization of the new GCE Board head office, Monono Ekema said: “It is a physical embodiment of the English subsystem of educational assessment in Cameroon. It is memorable signpost that testifies to the fact that health and wealth of our fatherland is in constructive evolution. This is a signpost accompanying our Head of State, President Paul Biya in his greater achievement project. In deed, this is a prologue to the eminent manifestations to commemorate our 50th anniversary of reunification. This is more than just a building: it is a monument reflecting the commitment of a people with a common purpose...”

Former Board Officials Honored
The registrar saluted the huge contributions to the growth of examination body of pioneer GCE Board Registrar Azong Wara, and those of former deputy registrars Mbong Johannes Ngole and Akoko Mathew Abiewa.The three were during the ceremony publicly honored with awards. He also tribute to other former GCE Board officials, now of blessed memory: Dr. Omer Weyi Yembe(former Registrar),S.N. Dioh(board chair) and H.N. Endeley(former board chair).

Labour Medals 
Monono Ekema congratulated some 20 GCE workers who during the ceremony were awarded labor medals in recognition of meritorious services rendered to the board.The Medals were affixed on their them by the Senior Divisional officer for Fako,Zang III
The Registrar thanked other stakeholders who in one way or the other have contributed to the success of the GCE board and promised that the Board would “double its efforts to ensure that in future the achievements will be multiplied
   Other highlights of the ceremony included a welcome speech Buea Mayor Ekema Patrick; the poetry awards plaques and prizes to student contest winners, technical presentation of the building, cutting of the ribbon and unveiling of the inaugural plague, and a guided tour of the offices of the new building by the Minister.
Among the VIPs who witnessed the grandiose ceremony in front of the new GCE head office near Bilingual Grammar school Molyko were Professor Dorothy L.Njeuma; University of Buea Vice-chancellor Dr.Nalova Lyonga;the Paramount Chief of Buea SML Endeley;CDC General manager Franklin Njie and  Clement Fon Ndikum,SG at Buea Governor’s Office.

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