By Walter Wilson Nana
Humphrey Ekema Monono, Registrar, Cameroon General Certificate of Education Board is happy that a week after the 2013 Session of the GCE opened, the atmosphere is serene. In this exclusive interview, Monono gives credit to the collective efforts of all the stakeholders, the candidates, who understand what the exams are all about and the essence to evolve with the times.
How did you prepare for GCE 2013?
Traditionally, we’ve a way we go about the business. Like every other year, we put in the materials, the human resources and there goes the examinations.
How was the take-off Monday, May 27 2013?
Positively! Monday May 27 2013 was cool, the actors were in place, we had had our preparatory meetings a week before, distributed the materials needed and the exams kicked-off smoothly. That has being the tradition.
Did you foresee any difficulties?
The exams differ as the years unfold. The Registrar is as excited like any other candidate writing the examination. We questioned ourselves whether the materials have reached every corner of the triangle, we want to know whether our invigilators, chief of centres, our superintendents are all there, we ask ourselves if our candidates are ready or turned up for the exams. And we thank God, all is in place and everybody is ready for 2013. We were all there on Monday, May 27 to begin the exams. We thank God for His graces and all in the media, who are helping us in the sensitisation campaigns and those in the education community. The first week is gone, thanks to our collective efforts and I am sure the second week will be more exciting.
One week into the GCE 2013, what are the echoes trickling into your office?
The echoes are those of satisfaction, candidates, teachers and those concerned are working. Sad to mention that there is an uncomfortable hydra showing its ugly head and that is impersonation – some people think that they can write for others. So, they try to falsify the timetables, fitting pictures, forgetting to know that we (GCE Board) have picture albums of all the candidates registered. Those individuals are languishing in the hands of the forces of law and order. I call on the clientele of this assessment practice to condemn these kinds of negative practices. It does not only tarnish the image of the Board, it does damage to the image of our country. If there is one of such candidates anywhere, he or she should be an anathema from our system, come our second and third weeks.
Despite the aforementioned case, security of the exams continues to be tight. What is the secret?
Vigilance! The candidates know that we’re not giving them things they have not seen before. The syllabus is respected; the teachers have done their work and given the students enough encouragement. The candidates are confident in themselves that they can make it. Their brothers and sister did, we did and why should they not? The message is sinking, quietly, in the heads of other candidates. This thing is a normal practice. People have had 10, 11 ‘A’s, they too can make it.
Some observers have described the Board as getting innovative and showing integrity. Is it a Cameroonian touch to exams or the Board is following current trends of assessment?
All that put together, we can’t live as an island. You can only measure yourself, when you know what your neighbour at the other side of the road is doing. This element of comparability is normal, with examination practice. We exchange notes, we do benchmarking, activities with other Boards, so we’re quite aware, what global trends are. If you call them innovations, I am afraid not. We’re putting the GCE Board and Cameroon examination assessment practices on the right rails.
The slogan of the Cameroon GCE Board is “Measuring Learning With Honesty”. Are you standing up to that challenge?
It’s you to tell us. It is a slogan the fore fathers of this institution put at the disposal of whoever is coming and who ever will come after us to put as a watchword using to do the work as required of him. if you don’t measure learning with honesty and as honestly as you can, you will be partisan, your certificates will not be credible, you will get yourself down the line of corrupt people, the certificate is more than legal tender, honesty must be the watchword. It’s not a misnomer. It is for you and me to fly the flag of honesty as high as the Buea Mountain.
Where are we with the resolutions of the syllabus review meeting that took place in Saker Baptist College, Limbe, some few years ago?
The syllabuses are already in the field for implementation come September 2013. I carried some of them to the delegates in the Northwest Region during my meetings. There is enough progress going on. We’re in a state of evolution.
There are indications that users of the Board now put on smiling faces. What’s the explanation for this newfound spirit?
We do those things because we’ve the blessings of the government. They all need financial support and it has being coming. I have never held back words of appreciation from the government, the Ministry of Secondary Education, via the Prime Minister to the Head of State. They have stood, solidly, behind this institution, giving the money for the certificates and so, we move on quietly. The Money was not for Humphrey, it was for the candidates and there, their certificates are. And over the years, we have being doing just what they expect from us. If you want a Confirmation, you know what to do, we’re there to give it to you. Things are a little clearer. When you have things laid out and executed as such, then the Registrar and his collaborators must clear their tables.
How is your new building going?
A lot of progress has being done. It’s 90 percent done. In the nearest future, we shall be packing from our current structure to the new building, next door to Bilingual Grammar School, Molyko, Buea. It’s a beautiful complex, expected to be three buildings. We’ve the first building done. We’ll even work better in our new site. Thanks to the government, we may be leaving the Board better than we met it.
Any advice to those writing the exams?
Let them stand firm, focussed, steadfast. They should not look left or right for any other thing. Their destiny is in front of them. Even to the other stakeholders not writing the exams, let’s get involved and make the candidates perform better.
Interviewed By Walter Wilson Nana