|Mrs. Mbua Hannah Etonde|
By Christopher Ambe
Mention discipline in schools and I bet you both ex-students and students of Government High School (GHS) Buea, would say it is synonymous to Mbua Nee Ngoto Hannah Etonde, first ever female principal of Government High School (GHS) Buea.
This erudite indigene of Fako Division of Cameroon has headed this 27 year- old school now for 12 years, to the admiration of both hierarchy and the general public.
This educational administrator/teacher, who on July 18, 2014 celebrated her 47th birth day in thanks-giving to God, is generally described as an advocate of law and order, when contributing her quota to the development of Cameroon.
As recognition of her valuable contributions to nation-building, Mrs. Mbua Etonde has been decorated by the State of Cameroon with the Knight of the National Order of Valour medal.
Asked what inspired her to choose teaching as a career, Mrs.Mbua Etonde, who is holder of an M.Ed in Educational Administration (University of Buea) and is now a PhD research fellow, said:
“From what my mother told me, I was actually born to be a teacher. As a child, I am told, I used to rally other children in my quarter, teach, advise and lead them.”
Mrs. Mbua Etonde who has been a career teacher for 20 years, has no problem blending teaching and administration. “I teach, I administer and lead both teachers and students. And, I perform all these functions smoothly guided by God”, she told this writer, beaming.
Determined to have a doctorate degree in educational administration, she says “I am doing this not to challenge anybody but as a challenge to my self-because as an administrator and a teacher I cannot stop learning. The day I stop to learn I should probably stop to teach. Teaching is a calling. The teacher does not build structures that crumble, the teacher builds human beings”
Generally described as a strict disciplinarian- both by teachers and students, as well as party/group fellow, Mrs. Mbua Etonde- who in 1992 earned a B.A (English) from University of Yaoundé and in 1994 graduated as teacher from Higher Teachers’ Training College (ENS) Yaounde, says:
“I am not just strict for nothing. It is that I like students (and others working with me) to do things well and at the right time. When they do things right, it they who reap the benefits and are happy”
The strictness of this principal, we gathered, forced some students wanting greater freedom to threaten withdrawal from her school, arguing that such strictness should only be applied in boarding schools, which GHS is not one.
To this Mrs.Mbua Etonde reacted, “Many have complained that we discipline in a manner that they think they are in a boarding school. But I still tell them we do that to make them straight and law-abiding”
As principal of GHS Buea since 2002, Mrs. Mbua Etonde has reportedly been putting her best to maintain standards. Hear her :“I don’t know if my best is the best. But I have been here as principal for 12 years and I must be grateful to God for allowing me to share my experience with the stakeholders of this school for this length of time. And if it is God’s wish that I continue here I won’t say No”
The Recorder has found out that, under Mrs. Mbua Etonde as principal for the past 12 years in collaborations with parents of students of the school and the Government, GHS Buea has recorded many achievements: high discipline in the school, which is now public knowledge; academic excellence, there is improved infrastructure, a computer laboratory/multi-media center, a well-equipped library, a school field, three science laboratories among other things.
Although GHS Buea is yet have a 100 % score at the GGE exams during her tenure as principal ,exam results so far have been quite satisfactory. “Every year when the results are published I feel proud. I lift my head and congratulate my teachers.GHS Buea has never sent out less than 200 students. Our students go out in hundreds-300 and above”, the principal pointed to this writer, adding that, “for a school to register of students of all sorts, I think if we have pass percentages of between 80 and 90,I think we are doing great. And I keep saying that my teachers are wonderful-for teaching many students who don’t have text books; for teaching students who come to school without basic didactic materials to learn. That notwithstanding, we are intensifying our efforts to start scoring 100 % soon”
At home, Mrs. Mbua Etonde, who is a mother of four, is motherly and “my children know that the time I spend with them are very fruitful hours-hours that I inculcate in them values that will keep them in good standing in society-values of hardwork, tolerance, honesty, humility, fear of the Lord, discipline etc” She is grateful that, she is married to a very understanding and caring husband,Njie Peter Mbua,a court registrar, now on retirement but still very supportive of the family progress
Etonde, the Politician
A member of the ruling CPDM since the 1990’s,Mrs. Mbua Etonde,has been president of Buea WCPDM(WCPDM Fako III) since March 2007 and is member of the WCPDM National Bureau since 2011. She had before held other duty posts in the WCPDM in Buea such as Section Treasurer (May 2002 –march 2007) and Subsection president of WCPDM Soppo Mokongo (1997-2002).
When the CPDM won municipal elections in Buea in September 2013, Mrs. Mbua Etonde stood against Ekema Patrick Esunge for the post of Mayo of Buea but lost. Yet, she is ambitious. “I aspire to become something more than a mayor. Life is all aspirations and hopes. My first objective was for the CPDM to win. And thank God they did…If I had to be mayor; the Good God whom I serve would have made it possible. God has allowed me to be a councilor and he who is mayor needs my support”
She taught English Language and Literature in Bilingual Grammar School (BGS)Molyko Buea(December 1994-August 2000);taught ‘The Use of English’ at University of Buea(September 1995- July 2000);taught English & Literature at Central GCE Evening School Mevick Bilingual Grammar School Yaounde( January 1993 –June 1994) and at Inter Comprehensive College Buea(1992)
Mrs. Mbua Etonde has been Assistant Chief Examiner (O’ level Literature in English) from July 2008 to date), and had been a GCE examiner for O’ level in English Literature (1995-2008)
Trust in God
Believing in the existence of the Almighty God, Mrs.Mbua Etonde is a committed Christian, an elder and lay preacher of Presbyterian Church Molyko –Buea; member of Christian Women Fellowship (CWF Molyko) and second- term President-General of Ndol’a Kristo Choirs Association of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon (PCC).
“I would like to advise female teachers, female students, female politicians and our female children that life is not a race; that life is a gentle walk. When you do it gently with the fear of the Lord, and you make sure that you mean what you say and say what you mean, do what you think is good for you to others, then there is no doubt that God will bless you. Every female has the potentials of becoming a leader”
Mrs.Mbua Etonde says:“If I were to go on retirement today or even to die (laughs), I would like to be remembered for the things that I have done to impact on the lives of others. There are many. For example, you may know that ,for the past seven years that I have been President of WCPDM in Buea,I have been touching the lives of some children who are deprived-300 of them at least every year ,I donate to them didactic materials and I know that these children will remember me. Recently, two students walked up to me at a conference and greeted me, informing me that I gave them scholarships while they were in primary school. Those children, I think, will tell their children about it.
“My teachers will remember that I touched their lives-because I don’t make them do work, I work with them and I correct them when necessary and reprimand when necessary; I encourage and motivate them when the need arises.
Mrs.Mbua Etonde is an amateur actress, who has been member of both the Musinga Drama Group and the University of Yaounde Theatre. She likes doing research t on important subjects .She enjoys cooking and singing.
The foregoing is ample evidence that Mrs.Mbua Etonde is a model to watch.