P.T.A. Annual General Meeting on February 16, 2008.

ST, JOSEPH’S COLLEGE SASSE
P.T.A ANNUAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY MEETING, 16TH FEBRUARY 2008

AGENDA

Part One

9:00 a.m. Holy Mass

11:00a.m. Procession to Hall led by College Band

Part Two

· Opening prayer

· Welcome Address by P.T.A. President

· Brief Address by Principal

· Introduction of Academic Staff

· Intervention by Catholic Education Secretary, Buea Diocese

· Interlude

· Minutes of the last PTA Annual General Meeting
· Minutes of last P.T. A. Executive Meeting
· Financial Report

· Matters Arising from Minutes and Reports

· Presentation of Diocesan PTA Awards

· Launching of the Sales “Mountain Echoes”: P.T.A. Edition

· Intervention by Senior Discipline Master

· Announcements

· President’s Closing Remarks

· Closing Prayer by Principal

· Lunch, Meetings between Class Masters/Mistresses and Parents etc.

· Departure of Parents – 5:30P.M.

AN ADDRESS PRESENTED BY COMMANDANT AUGUSTINE NJOTSA, P.T.A CHAIRMAN OF S.J.C. SASSE ON THE OCCASION OF THE AGM HOLDING IN SASSE COLLEGE ON SATURDAY FEBRUARY 16, 2008

The Catholic Education Secretary For The Diocese of Buea,
Your Excellencies,
The Principal and Staff of S.J.C. Sasse,
Dear Parents/Guardians,
All Protocol Respected,
Ladies and Gentlemen.

Here we are again gathered on the occasion of the Annual General Meeting /Open Day of the P.T.A in Sasse College. It is customary that we meet at this Annual Rendez-Vous to discuss the problems of our children, meet with College Authorities, Staff and all who are taking care of our children studying in this prestigious Institution. May I take this opportunity to welcome you all to Sasse this day, on the feast of St. Julie

I will go straight away to inform the house of the changes at the helm of the College. Rev. Fr. Jervis Kebei Kewi, our former Principal was replaced by Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Ngwese Epie, who moved in the very capacity from a young College, precisely, St. Pius X College Ekondo –Titi which Fr. Epie opened some years back as 1st Principal of that School.

Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Epie, on behalf of the Parents of these students you are administering to, here in Sasse, I take this opportunity on behalf of Parents to welcome you to Sasse. As an old boy of the College, Sasse is not new to you. Coming in now, as Principal is certainly different, because it is you who is in the driving seat but coupled with past experience I believe you are very much in a position to deliver the goods. Father, you are welcome to Sasse.

Just to remind you, the objectives of this leadership remain the same, i.e.
Ø Improving on the welfare conditions of our children, there by creating a conducive atmosphere for learning.
Ø Improving on the quality of life and welfare of the personnel in order that they produce the goods – I mean the result, that we the parents expect from the staff on an all round basis.

Talking about good results, may I announce to the House, the performance of Sasse College at the last Cameroon General Certificate of Education Examination, June 2007.

G.C.E. RESULTS 2006
SAT PASSED % PASSED
O/L 86 86 100%
A/L 74 70 94.59%

G.C.E. RESULTS 2007
SAT. PASSED % PASSED
O/L 95 94 98.90%
A/L 65 64 98.00%

No doubt, these are good results and I believe the parents can only be happy and thankful to the College authorities and staff for the hard work put in to achieve what you have before you. Please, I would like to call on the house, to give the Staff and all who contributed to this good results, A STANDING OVATION. The P.T.A. Executive democratically agreed that a sum of Two Million ( 2.000.000)francs CFA be handed over for disbursement to the entire work force as incentives for a good job well done in the year 2007.

We, the parents are encouraging you the staff and all concerned to go all out and hit a 100% target at both levels, something we are still to achieve. At this stage, I will want to dwell a little bit on the Turbulence we had here last academic year. Despite a good job done, the atmosphere in Sasse last year was very unhealthy. May I remind staff that this situation has to change and let a healthy climate reign this Academic Year. The total and unflinching support and co-operation of all the members of staff is needed to get hierarchy succeed at all levels, you have a new Principal and I believe you the Staff have to give him all your support.

Coming back to our children, I will want to tell parents and remind them that the upbringing of children starts from home not Sasse. Sasse is there to complement what we parents start at home. Parents you have them for three months of the year. Sasse has them for nine. So, if we want to make Sasse, a home away from home, then parents emphasize on these children the need to be in a boarding Institution because the overriding goal is DISCIPLINE, inside which a lot has to be achieved if a child goes through an Institution like Sasse. Parents, please help the Staff to make your children better persons in society tomorrow by going through Sasse.
Fortunately, the theme of the Principals Conference this year which will be holding at the John XXIII Centre in Mvolye from 26th to the 27th February 2008 will be on “ The Parent and Discipline in the Catholic Schools. Father Emmanuel Epie we, the parents are anxiously waiting what you will bring back form this Conference.

About the new dormitory, work will continue. All I can tell you is that the proprietor is with us on a very positive note. Shortly after this meeting, all will be set in motion to see our project more into another stage. We have a huge task ahead of us but let faith in what we are doing be the watch word for this project of ours to succeed.

Once more, I thank parents for making the time to be here. On behalf of the P.T.A. Executive, I wish you all a very successful deliberation this day.

COMMANDANT AUGUSTINE NJOTSA
P.T.A PRESIDENT.

AN ADDRESS PRESENTED BY THE PRINCIPAL ON THE OCCASION OF THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE PARENT-TEACHER ASSOCIATION (P.T.A.), OF ST. JOSEPH’S COLLEGE SASSE SATURDAY FEBRUARY 16, 2008.

The Catholic Education Secretary,
Dear Parents,
Guardians and Teachers.

On behalf of the staff and students, I heartily bid you welcome to Sasse on this great event of our annual general meeting. It gives great joy, for me to meet you for the first time.

Our first duty on this great occasion is to render fitting thanks to God our provident father, for giving us such a great opportunity. It is a near impossibility to count the blessings He has poured on us, our families and our college. Let us thank Him today for the last academic year and pray that He may graciously bless us, throughout the course of this new academic year. May His Spirit transform our college into a community of docile, hard -working, principled, devoted and God-fearing parents, teachers and students.

With no intention to exhume some sour memories, we acknowledge the fact that some persons who were here with us last year and others who were looking forward eagerly for this meeting cannot be with us, more so because they have been called to eternal bliss. Before inviting you to show appreciation for their contribution to our common course, by observing a moment of silence, kindly note in your diaries, that the 2nd of November –the feast of all the faithful departed has been set aside also, as a special day in the college to pray for the departed, members of this family –SOBANS and SOBANEES, relatives. Please do well to join us every year on this day, in whatever way you can, physically or in spirit. Could we please rise for a moment of silence………(pause)
“Fidelium Animae Per Misericordiam Dei, Requiescant in Pace, Amen.”

I would like to welcome in a very special way, all the Parents who have joined this family this year and the new teachers as well. Worthy of note is the fact that this year, Sasse College has registered an increase in the number of female teachers, thereby scoring a point in the move towards gender balance. We hope that these new members will add their bit to the steam of the older members whose efforts and scarifies we continue to praise.

Dear parents, guardians and teachers, I looked forward eagerly for this day, to officially express my profound gratitude for the sacrifices you are making for this college; your contributions towards the building of an ultra-modern dormitory for our students, your financial and other incentives to the staff, your kind words of encouragement and appreciation, which gives us the steam to forge on, inspite of all odds, are testimonies, eloquent enough, of your desire to see us maintain the reputation of this great institution. Be assured, that besides our prayers and good wishes for you our gratitude in turn will take the form of our tireless efforts at making the college remain ever great and respected in consonance with the ideals of Sasseism.

Within my short span as head of this great college of ours I might have offended some of you with certain innovations or policies enforced. Please, kindly hold me excuse and rest assured that my actions were prompted by my love and concern for your children and our college.

Managing the affairs of this institution has not been a bed of roses, this far. We have encountered a number of difficulties among which are the following:

1. Health:
The absence of Br. Wilfred Mengjo due to ill -health, created a great vacuum in this domain. Besides, the appeal for parents to give the medical history of their children, seemingly fell on deaf ears. Things would have been worse, but for the ceaseless efforts and sacrifices of our beloved SOBAN Doctors, Dr. Ekiko and Dr. Chuwanga. Nevertheless, a replacement for Br. Wilfred has been got and another SOBAN medical doctor Dr. Ndando, has joined the team. With this arsenal of medical experts, we are confident that our problems of health, will be history.

2. Discipline:
Another difficulty is with discipline. Some Parents encourage and support their children to defy the rules and regulations of the college, by holding up some of the disciplinary measures, enforced, to ridicule. In this wise, they exhibit a deep hatred for moral and religious formation to the extent that for them what they require of Sasse, is a certificate of studies or, at the most, quality instruction and training for employment and for going abroad.

Conscious of the indispensable role of discipline, we shall not waver; reason why this year we adopted the objective “Order Discipline and academic excellence. This is the theme which we hope will guide the life of every member of the college community.

As Parents and guardians, you will help us meet these objectives by taking the pain to help your children implement these guidelines.

To further enforce discipline, “ In loco Parentis Committes” will be set up. This is a move to get parents more involved in the formation of their children. Parents will be assigned to the various classes and dormitories to work with classmasters /mistresses and dormitory masters, to supervise the activities of the students in these domains. With the assistance of these Parents, we hope to create a better family atmosphere which will enhance the growth and development of the students in a balanced way.

3. Visitors:
Apart from the official visiting/outing days, which is once every month, no parent will be allowed to see his/her child without the expressed permission of the principal or his closest collaborators, in his absence.

4. Congestion:
While landing the efforts of our beloved parents, to uplift our standards, at the level of the college, we resolved to organize a harvest thanksgiving and bazaar to raise funds for the realization of some of our dire needs. In consonance with the dictum that the only way we can get anything done is to get everyone involved, we ask for your assistance, to set up a committee that will help organize the bazaar.

Dear Parents, guardians, looking at Sasse College from my personal observation, I am tempted to conclude that we are stagnating. There are many institutions today which are competing with Sasse and which may be better than Sasse. What we may have in Sasse today, if we are sincere, could be just the name. Much needs to be done and this will require our concerted efforts.

The present situation of the college leaves no doubt that the task entrusted to the present administration is enormous. Nevertheless, it is our resolve to bring Sasse College to a different platform, so that she will continue to occupy the position of excellence, she has enjoyed this far.

Since we have much on our plate I strongly recommend that issues to be discussed in this forum, should be issues of general interest. All personal matters should be referred to the school administration.

May I invite you at this juncture to open up and share your thoughts and experiences with us, as to how we can work together for the good upbringing of your children, our students. May God bless us and guide our deliberations to a fruitful end.

Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Ngwese Epie
Principal

MINUTES OF THE P.T.A. EXCO MEETING HELD ON
SATURDAY , NOVEMBER 3RD 2007.

Opening Prayer
The meeting started at 11:20a.m. with an opening prayer led by the principal, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Epie. He thanked God for bringing all to the meeting safely, and further asked Him to guide all during the deliberations.

Word of Welcome by P.T.A. Chairman.
The P.T.A. Chairman, Cmdt. Augustine Njotsa thanked the members for the sacrifices made in order to attend the meeting. He reminded the members to make positive contributions as usual, so that pertinent issues be delt with accordingly and without delay. The Chairman used that opportunity to welcome the new principal, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Epie, who was transferred from St. Pius X Ekondo Titi, where he served as the Pioneer Principal for four years. The chairman acknowledged with satisfaction, the coming back of Mr. Tabe Bernard as Senior Discipline Master. He also introduced Messrs Tansida Ferdinand and Betangah Aloysius as male Representative and secretary respectively.

Previous P.T.A. EXCO Minutes
The minutes of the previous Exco meeting were read out and the following corrections made:
Ø -In 2006, the percentage pass at the Ordinary Level was 100% and not 97.73%. At the Advanced Level of Same year, 74 was the number that sat, and not the number that passed.
Ø In 1965, the road into the college was cemented by Rev. Fr. Cunningham, not tarred.
Ø The chairman had contacted a choir in Douala, not Kumba.

At the end of the corrections, the minutes were moved for adoption by the Vice President, Engr. Egbe Patrick and the Female Representative, Mrs. Comfort Arrey.

Matters Arising From Minutes
1. P.T.A S.G.B.C.Bank Book
It was agreed that a letter be written to Dr. Sinju Motaze, requesting him to hand over the P.T.A. SGBC Bank Book to the Vice president, Engr. Egbe Patrick.

2. Diocesan PTA:
The chairman instructed the treasurer to pay the Diocesan levy to the Bishop’s House as usual. It was agreed that a letter be written to the Diocesan P.T.A. Chairman, reminding him of the appeal for financial assistance towards the P.T.A. dormitory project, that was put before him some months ago.

3. Water Project:
The Vice Principal, Engr. Valentine Itor, briefed the members of the difficulty posed by the villagers of Woteke village in Small Soppo. The source of the water is in Woteke, whose villagers say they will only let Sasse have water if they too have theirs. Unfortunately, the water source is below the hill while the settlement is up the hill. Thus water cannot flow to the village by gravity as it will in Sasse. The Vice Principal further explained that the Government has given money for Woteke Water Project and that the school will have water as soon as the project is over.

A member asked how the students are getting water while waiting for the completion of the project. The Principal replied that some water flows in the pipes but not enough for the showers.

The Male Representative said the SOBA President, Dr. Col. Balimba was working hard towards the Woteke Water Project, which is now a prerequisite to the Sasse Water Project. He also promised discussing the problem with other concerned and interested persons, with the aim of accelerating the projects.

4. Cemencam:
The Vice Principal confirmed that cement was got at a reduced price, thanks to the contacts made by the Vice Chairman.

The State of Sasse College.
The state of Sasse College was presented by the Principal. He welcomed all to the 68year-old College in which he was serving as the 19th Principal in general and 3rd SOBA Principal in particular. The Principal went ahead to present some of the difficulties encountered by the old College. 936 students he said, was one of the highest enrolments the college has ever had with the same infrastructure. He appreciated the P.T.A. in their effort to put up a new dormitory. Besides the dormitory, there were many other areas needing attention, reason why income generating activities such as the Bazar were thought of. The Principal also expressed surprise that parents concealed the medical history of their children instead of letting the school authorities know about it so as to better handle such cases. Consequently, students themselves present doubtful medical reports in order to go on exit for their own interest.

Some reactions were made following the Principal’s report.
Ø Member commended the initiative of the bazaar. A member asked if the enrolment could not be dropped. The Vice Principal responded that it was the view of the Proprietor, the Bishop of Buea, to give the opportunity to as many as possible to be educated in Sasse.
Ø Members were surprise to hear that parents conceal medical history of their children, which can not in anyway be a reason for their children to be sent out of the college. It was agreed that parents need to be educated on this issue.
Ø A member proposed that a better qualified nurse be employed to work in the Sick Bay especially as the existing ones are of the Nursing Aid Grade.
Ø The Principal informed the house that the SOBANS were also helping in the medical domain especially as a class of SOBANS have taken up the responsibility of helping the college through the sick Bay. Worthy of note is the fact that this only adds to the efforts of two volunteer medical doctors in the persons of Dr. Ekiko and Dr. Chuwanga, both former students of the college, who visit regularly and give free medical consultation to the students.
Ø A member proposed a real Health Centre with both permanent and parttime medical personnel. Another member seconded the proposal and added that a possibility be sought through the SOBANS in Yaounde, on how a permanent medical staff in the Civil Service could be got to work in the said health center.
Ø A member proposed the use of “Information Sheet” by students on exit, as a means to check pretentious students who present fake excuses. Other members saw it to be a good idea not until when the Vice Principal explained some of the disadvantages such as students forging the parents’ signatures, thus adding another crime to the suppose lies initially told.
Ø Another member proposed the use of an exit booklet per student. In addition, each student comes with 200frs for phone bill so that the parents are contacted each time the student leaves or arrives school. It was agreed that the administration continues with the exits as it has been doing until a better method is got.
Ø The Principal talked of “Locus Parentis”, a programme that will require couples/parents to volunteer and attend dormitory/class meetings. The parents will talk to the students about their experiences, clubs, etc, with the hope of inspiring them.

Academic Report
An academic report was presented by the Dean of Studies, Mr. Esuke Joseph. He started by presenting the year’s objective as “Order, Discipline and Academic Excellence”. He also spoke of the presence of Heads of Departments and Class Masters/Mistresses. These teachers hold regular meetings with the teachers of their departments and the students of their classes, during which problems are exposed and solutions proposed.
The Mid Term Test results for the First Term were read out. It was noticed that the percentage pass decreased as one moved from the lower to the higher classes. However, the overall performance was better than that of the previous year. The Dean round off his report by reading out the results of the June 2007 G.C.E as follows:

ORDINARY LEVEL = 98.90%
ADVANCED LEVEL = 98.00%

Financial Report.
The Treasurer, Mr. Tekwe Christopher, read out the total P.T.A. income for the year 2007/2008, which stood at 11,005,000frs. He said the above mentioned income excludes a reverend brother of St. Martins de Porres who is also a registered student of the institution. The Principal further explained that it was the Bishop who pleaded that the said Reverend Brother be asked to pay just part of registration and all of tuition but no boarding fee. The principal used that opportunity to inform the house that the enrolment of 936 dropped by one on that same morning, following the withdrawal of a student earlier reported for abnormal behaviour. It was recommended that parents should prepare the minds of their children for boarding life before sending them to boarding schools.

The treasurer also presented the P.T.A. income and expenditure account for 2007/2008 academic year.

A member asked about school fees recovery. The treasurer said some parents were not responding to the extend that some had not paid even a franc.

Dormitory project
The Chairman gave a short talk on the dormitory project during which he said he met the Bishop on the 11th of July 2007, and was asked to write a letter explaining why the project was conceived. He proposed going to the Bishop together with the Principal and Vice Principal. A project meeting was asked but the Principal said he needed to discuss it with the Education secretary.

It was agreed that a letter of appreciation be written to the SOBANS of 1962 class Brothers of the Coast”, for donating 500,000frs as support for the PTA dormitory project.

The Chairman read out a letter from an engineer, a parent and a SOBAN, requesting a building contract. It was agreed that the said engineer will be informed whenever he is needed.

For the meantime, the designer continues after the foundation. Part of the foundation has not yet been built though some material was still available.

Members gave various proposals as to how the project could be facilitated. These included;
Ø Students support with labour in filing the foundation. That had been started already.
Ø More appeal letters could be given out even to previous donors.
Ø An appeal to the Bishop and to any available company for the building of a wing.

Staff Incentives:
Following the brilliant performance at both the Ordinary and Advance Levels, it was agreed that the staff be given an incentive of two million francs.

Other Matters
1. College Magazine:
A member proposed adverts in the College Magazine.
The idea was welcomed by all but no specific price was allocated for a page. That depended on the company. Members encouraged one another to look for companies that will like to advertise their products in the magazine.

2. College Prospectus: A member asked why students were asked to pay 5100frs for farm/sanitation equipment. The Vice Principal explained that it is collected only for new students. He further explained the reason for the equipment to be kept by the school.

3. Bazar: The Principal explained the organization of the barzar. Members appreciated the idea and called for more publicity to be made on both the launching and the D. day.

4. I.T. Project: The Vice Principal, who doubled as Head of Department for Information technology, explained some of the difficulties faced in his department. He lauded the efforts of SOBANS in the U.S., for their concern and contribution towards the success of the project.

5. Bereaved Student: The Vice Principal announced with regret, that a form one student lost both parents in a ghastly motor accident in Penja. The said student was already one of the beneficiaries of Dr. Ngalele’s Scholarship.

Closing Remarks
The Vice Chairman made the closing remark and thanked all for making the effort to be present. He wished the contacts with the Bishop and other companies be fruitful, so that the first wing of the dormitory be completed.

The meeting rose at 2:15p.m. with a closing prayer led by Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Epie. Lunch followed immediately after the prayer.

Mr. Betangah Aloysius
Secretary.

MINUTES OF THE P.T.A AGM. HELD ON SATURDAY
FEBRUARY 24, 2007 IN SASSE

The day started off with a Holy Mass at 9.20 a.m. The main celebrant was Bishop Emmanuel Bushu, who emphasized that we should all live like Jesus Christ. He exhorted all students to follow College Rules strictly, in order to achieve this objective. The mass ended at 10.45 a.m. and the MC for the occasion, Mr. Stanley Ndifor, proceeded to read out the programme of the day. Next was a visit to the new dormitory site (Project sponsored by the PTA) by the Bishop and all the parents. The tour ended at 11.50 a.m.

After the inspection, the School Band ushered everyone to the hall for execution of the second part of the programme. Deliberations started at 11.25 a.m. with an opening prayer and a word of welcome from the Bishop. He thanked all for being present and said that in their days in Sasse, they never heard of anything called a PTA! He explained that it is good that parents meet teachers because of its importance in the formation of the students. He finally welcomed all for being present at the meeting.

The next item on the agenda was a welcome address by the PTA President, Commandant Augustine Njotsa. He immediately proceeded to inform the house of the change at the helm of the college. Fr. Jum Joseph Awoh, the former Principal, had left for further studies to the United Kingdom and had handed over to Fr. Jervis Kebei, who moved down the road from Bishop Rogan College, Soppo in the same capacity. He equally informed the parents of the passing away of another executive member, Mr. Akovi Nyajro, Male Representative on the Exco, who was a Senior Staff with the CDC in Bota. After a minute of silence, the Chairman went ahead to state the objectives of his leadership viz:
- Improving on the welfare conditions of the students, thereby creating a conducive atmosphere for learning.
- Improving on the quality of life and welfare of the personnel in order that they produce good results.
Talking about results, he presented a contrastive analysis of the 2005/2006 GCE results:

GCE RESULTS 2005
SAT PASSED %PASSED
O/L 88 86 97.73%
A/L 58 57 98.28%

GCE RESULTS 2006
SAT PASSED %PASSED
O/L 86 86 100%
A/L 74 70 94.59%

The parents gave the Staff a standing ovation and the Chairman explained that because of these good results, the PTA EXCO had democratically offered 2.000.000frs as incentives to the entire staff. He then highlighted three important areas that needed urgent attention: the Sick Bay, the Water Crisis and the New Dormitory. He assured all present that positive things were about to take place in these areas.

The next point on the agenda was an address by the Principal. He thanked all the parents for the sacrifices they had endured. He explained away some unfortunate happenings that had led to misinterpretations from parents. This was interrupted by intermittent applause from parents indicating their approval of the principal’s explanations. He briefly dwelt on the annual objective: Order, Discipline and Academic Excellence. He proceeded to read out a detailed results analysis of the 2006 GCE. He promised that he and the entire staff shall work harder to improve further on those good results.

The next point was the introduction of the Academic Staff of the college. After this introduction, Messrs Ewinjah Chrysantus and Paul Kosuh (two elderly workers of the college who had served for more than 40years) were handed 50.000frs each from the PTA. The envelopes were handed by Mgr. Bushu who enthusiastically thanked them for what they had been able to do for a whole generation in the life of this college.

After this, the Minutes of the last PTA Annual General Meeting were read out by the Secretary, Mr. Wong Joseph. This was equally combined with the Diocesan PTA Report. The Bursar, Mr. Tekwe Christopher read the Financial report of the college.

MATTERS ARISING FROM MINUTES AND REPORTS.

The following parents moved the minutes correct: Mrs. Koffi Maryline and Mr. Afungchwi. Mr. Aboagjie asked to know when the mandate of the present executive would come to an end. Cdt. Njotsa replied that it would be soon. A parent came back on this problem of water crisis. Fr. Jervis amply explained how some villagers were blocking the water catchment site and the steps that were being taken to attenuate the situation.
Another parent wished to know why students had to carry so many books back home or lose so many books while at school. Fr. Jervis explained that the book loss was a matter of carelessness and that parents should teach ownership to their children. The children simply dump their property everywhere on campus. This same parent equally sought to find out what measures have been taken to handle weak students. The principal explained that every student does the same thing at the same time; that teachers pay particular attention on weaklings and that for Orientation Counsellors the blame falls on the parents for influencing the choice of subject and creating chaos for their children’s academic future.

Another parent questioned why the amount given to Messrs Ewinjah and Paul Kosuh was so small. The Chairman explained that the PTA has a heavy project at hand so there wasn’t much left. The parents then agreed that they would make a special donation to augment the amount. The same parent asked to know why the number of students of Form 5 dwindled. The Vice Principal (Engr. Valentine Itor) explained that performance determines promotion into Form 5: 18papers or more.

A parent made three observations on morality, academics and transportation. He said while moving into campus he saw a Sasse student wearing an earring and reprimanded him. He noted that the GCE results were good but the staff should work hard in the quality of the results. He equally observed that the students leave very late when they close. The Principal vehemently refused that the earring fellow could possibly be a Sasse Student and went further to state that the school has little control over transportation matters.

Another parent decried the fact that Sasse Students spend huge sums of money organizing parties during the long vacation. The Vice Principal explained that some parents say they are the ones who give this money and that the school has little control of what goes on during the holidays. The Principal gave a beautiful anecdote on how he unknowingly sponsored one such party. The last intervention was a parent who made a suggestion that could be useful to the parents of slow learners. She advised that they contribute money to help in extra tuition for these young men. She equally raised the problem of ventilation in the dormitories. The Principal said something will be done about these problems.

The next item on the agenda was an improvised fund-raising to increase the financial envelop of Messrs Ewinjah and Paul Kosuh, since there was a general complaint that the envelope was too small. The amount raised was 87.750frs and the Chairman promised to share the money equally between the two laureates. Next was the launching of “Mountain Echoes” P.T.A. Edition. This was done by Dr. Enow Tanjong. The amount raised from the launch was 48.400frs.

After that, there was an intervention by the Senior Discipline Master. The SDM focused on the College Annual Objective: Order, Discipline and Academic Excellence. While dwelling on this objective, he raised some problems created by students and parents alike towards the realization of this goal. After this a tribute to late Akovi Nyajro was read by Engr. Valentine O. Itor ( VP) . Announcements followed suite and the Principal informed all that the mid-term tests results had been pasted on the notice board at the entrance to the Main Block. In his closing remarks, the Chairman, Cdt. Njotsa Augustine thanked all for bring present. The closing prayer was done by Fr. Jervis Kebei. The meeting ended at 2.20 p.m. followed by lunch and an informal encounter between the Class Masters/Mistresses and the parents. By 6 p.m. all the parents had left the college.

MR. Wong Joseph
( PTA OUT-GOING SECRETARY)

ST. JOSEPH’S COLLEGE SASSE- BUEA P.T.A. INCOME FOR THE YEAR 2007/2008
CLASS NUMBER OF STUDENTS AMOUNT PER CLASS TOTAL AMOUNT
TOTAL OLD NEW OLD NEW
1A 80 1 79 10,000 1,185,000 1,195,000
1B 82 - 82 - 1,230,000 1,230,000
2A 78 72 6 720,000 90,000 810,000
2B 76 70 6 700,000 90,000 790,000
3A 79 75 4 750,000 60,000 810,000
3B 78 73 5 730,000 75,000 805,000
4A 75 72 3 720,000 45,000 765,000
4B 80 74 6 740,000 90,000 830,000
5A 40 38 2 380,000 30,000 410,000
5B 44 43 1 430,000 15,000 445,000
L6A 69 - 69 - 1,035,000 1,035,000
L6S 64 1 63 10,000 945,000 955,000
U6A 49 47 2 470,000 30,000 500,000
U6S 41 38 3 380,000 45,000 425,000
TOTAL 935 604 331 6,040,000 4,965,000 11,005,000

SAINT JOSEPH’S COLLEGE SASSE
P.T.A. INCOME AND EXPENDITURE ACCOUNT
2007/2008 ACADEMIC YEAR
DESCRIPTION INCOME EXPENDITURE
Balance B/F 2006/2007 1,010,450
Balance Cash in Hand B/F 2006/2007 963,200
P.T.A. Collection 2007/2008 11,005,000
P.T.A. Entertainment 935,000
Aid Given by Diocesan P.T.A. 500,000
D.S.T.V. Subscription 444,000
Transport Requisition 135,000
Transport to Secretary to attend meetings 7,000
Purchase of three Wheel Barrows 54,000
Maintenance on the three Wheel Barrows 15,000
P.T.A. Diocesan Levy 233,750
Cracking of stones to fill new Dormitory 334,000
P.T.A. Entertainment 935,000
Incentive to Teachers 2,000,000
BALANCE c/d 10,255,900
14,413,650 14,413,650

A REPORT FROM THE SENIOR DISCIPLINE MASTER FOR THE
PTA AGM HOLDING IN SJC SASSE ON FEBRUARY 16,2008.

The Chairman, PTA Sasse,
The Principal, SJC, Sasse,
Our Dear Parents,
Distinguished Guests,
Members of Staff,
Ladies and Gentlemen.

Once more I am privileged to stand before this mammoth crowd composed of respectable ladies and gentlemen after a brief interlude to give an account of the students you entrusted to us. Parents who visit the institution regularly will know more about the school than those who seldom visit. To control a large student body of 936 offering boarding facilities is not an easy task, and the efforts of the parents are needed for effective control so as to achieve the desired goals. That is why there is a necessity for a P.T.A.

This academic year has been one of prolonged rainfall and consequently most dresses were abandoned on the drying lines behind the dormitories. These are discarded when they fall and robbed in the mud.

Few parents who visited the school then could give an account of what they saw infront of the academic block. Most of these dresses do not carry names and so could not be identified. This has prompted the administration, to take more drastic steps to ensure that all uniforms and other properties bear the names of the owners. This will enable us to identify the owners. This information was communicated to parents during the Christmas break but most parents gave a deaf ear.

The gate is the only entrance into the campus. The security men are employees of the college meant to execute school policies. They have constantly been harassed and threatened by parents including some law enforcement officers. These attitudes are unhealthy and ungentlemanly. Parents should treat them with caution.

Cases associated with theft are common in every institution and Sasse cannot be indifferent. Books and chewable top the chart. Cases if uniforms, bedsheets, exercise books etc, are as a result of carelessness and students don’t steal them. Some parents exaggerate the provision of basic necessities for their children by supplying them as if to build provision store. Consequently, thieves are attracted to visit their trunks or lockers. The classrooms and dormitories have been provided with strong padlocks and protectors. Classrooms remain closed after classes and dormitories are only opened after classes so as to check theft.

Breaking bounds is greatly reduced due to constant roll calls. Few parents see their children at home and do not care to ask for their exits. It will be good that you insist on seeing their exits and try to discourage them from visiting the home.

In the principal’s letter to parents it was made clear that the children could be visited only during outings which is the second Saturday of every month. Few parents still insist on having contacts and use illegal means to smuggle unwanted articles to them. It will be preferable to have your child in a day school if you want to be having regular contacts with them. Parents should be aware of the fact that some students squander their fees. So precaution should be taken in this line.

One of the ills parents are very much concerned is brutality. No parent will be happy to hear that his child is beaten no matter the circumstances. For your information, brutality has been brought to complete control. Thanks to the effort of the outgoing government. The whip is out of place and alternative punishments have been put in place. Your children will confirm this assertion. Parents who were bittered on the re-opening date were acting on rumour from their children. However there are isolated cases, which are blamed on the students who failed to report to the discipline office. Even if students are punished in the dormitories at night, we get the information and act promptly. Please have confidence in the discipline department in this regard. Corporal punishment has been the focus of all meetings of the Senior Discipline Masters in Fako Division and the Southwest Province.

Some parents entrust their children to senior students known as ‘Big’ whom they believe can take adequate care of them. Some have gone to extreme in keeping their properties including books. The administration does not recognize this and parents are held responsible for any act of indiscipline. All students are treated equally without segregation.

Thanks for your understanding.

Long live the parents,
Long live the staff,
Long live the College,
Long live the Catholic Church.

PA TABE BERNARD ENOW
(Senior Discipline Master)

A REPORT ON THE BUEA DIOCESAN P.T.A MEETING HELD
ON FRIDAY NOVEMBER 30,2007 IN MUYUKA.

The meeting started at 11:10a.m. with an opening prayer led by the Parish Priest for Muyuka, Rev. Fr. Edward Ngalame.

SPEECHES
Two speeches followed the opening prayer. The first was delivered by the Chairman, Mr. Fotoh George. He expressed satisfaction in the way the Buea Diocesan P.T.A. has been working but cried out that he was too long in power despite his age, and wished to hand over to some one else.

Next was a speech by the Catholic Education Secretary, Rev. Fr. George Nkeze. He lauded the sacrifices made by parents under the auspices of the P.T.A., especially as Government subvention is too small and very irregular. He acknowledged that parents have been doing the work of the state in supporting the schools financially and otherwise. Fr. George expressed his wish for the association to be termed Parent Association (P.A.) and not P.T.A., since financial contributions are done by parents and not by parents and teachers.

GUEST SPEAKER
Mr. Ndifor Joseph of the Buea Diocesan Health Department was the guest speaker of the day. He talked on the Bamenda Ecclesiastical Province Health Assistance (BEPHA), a Mutual Health Organisation (MHO), that will enable the under privileged to be assisted by those who are financially viable.

He proposed a registration fee of 1000frs per student or pupil. This registration covered the student/pupil throughout his/her life as a student/pupil. In addition, Nursery School Pupils will pay 1000frs per year, Primary School Pupils will pay 1500frs per year, while Secondary and High School Students will pay 2,500frs per year. BEPHA will inturn give financial assistance to pupils/students with health problems based on the following category:

Ø 50,000frs for fractures, appendix operations and complicated malaria.
Ø 75% of total expenditure for other common health problems.
The above proposal was to be looked into by parents and then make suggestions where necessary as well as decide when to start implementing the scheme.

REPORTS
Reports were read out by representatives of Parishes, Primary Schools and Colleges. Common in all the reports were appreciations for the rewards acquired in different respects under the Catholic Mission as well as problems encountered and proposed solutions. Appeals for financial assistance was made by a good number of Schools and Colleges.

PRIZES
Prizes were awarded to meritorious students following their brilliant performance at the June 2007 G.C.E. Examination. Six Students from S.J.C. Sasse had 10,000frs each following their ‘ O’ level results. They were:
1. Metuge Koge Etube Thierry 4. Orock Ndip Ebanda
2. Mofa Derick Elangwe 5. Egbeyong Enoh Tanjong
3. Gouater Issola Albert 6. Dzoyem Tchinda Alfred

Four Students from S.J.C. Sasse had 15,000frs each, following their brilliant performance at the ‘ A’
Level. They were:
1. Husayn Tambe Arrah 3. Ngeme-Ndie Jarvis
2. Mengnjo Michel Karngong 4. Lawrence Eboka
SUBSIDIES
Subsidies of 300,000frs and 500,000frs were given to Primary Schools and Colleges respectively. Seven Primary Schools received 300,000frs each while two Secondary Schools received 500,000frs each.

Following a letter of appeal for financial assistance for the continuation of the S.J.C. Sasse P.T.A. Dormitory Project, Sasse College was one of the two Secondary Schools that received the subsidy of 500,000frs

ELECTIONS

A new government was formed following a democratic election, with Mr. Mbe Amin as President. Mr. Mbe Amin who is a retired teacher residing in Muyuka, was secretary General of the association for several years. A post he held until his election as president.

However, the new government was not installed. The Catholic Education Secretary explained that it was the Bishop’s Prerogative as head of the Diocese to do so.

The meeting ended at 6p.m. and was closely followed by refreshment.

Forteck Aloysius Betangah
Secretary.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

1. The deadline for fee payment of the last installment of fees has already expired. Parents who have not completed the fees of their sons will have to take them home with them after this meeting. Only students with official exits and school fees information sheets are permitted to leave the campus. Leaving the campus without an exit is considered breaking bounds and the student will be sanctioned according to the school rules and regulations.

2. The college will organize a fund raising bazaar. Parents are invited to be part of this endeavour and to support theirs sons’ efforts generously.

3. The closing day for the second term is Monday March 24th 2008 at 10:00AM.

4. Extension classes for Forms Five and Upper Sixth will begin on Tuesday March 25th 2008 and end on Monday Saturday April 5th 2008. Each student is expected to have paid 15,000 FRS for these classes.

5. Form Three and Upper Sixth students shall be writing the Provincial Religious Certificate Examination in May 2008. Registration fee remains 2000 FRS per candidate. This amount should be paid on or before the reopening date of the third term.

Interview with Mgr. James TOBA

We selected as our hero a Soban of the 1944 class. He holds a masters degree in Education from the University of Detroit, in U.S.A., and just celebrated his 50 th anniversary as a priest. He is Mgr. James Toba, the erstwhile vicar general of Buea Diocese. In 1924, Mgr James Toba was born to Augustine Ngong Fulai and Susana Nainbong, all deceased in Njinikom.
After primary education at Saint Anthony School, Njinikom, he gained admission into Saint Joseph’s College, Sasse in 1944.
When he graduated from Sasse, in 1949, Toba taught in Queen of the Rosary College, Okoyong, Mamfe, for two years, 1949-50. From Okoyong, he moved to the major seminary in Enugu, Nigeria, in 1951.
Done with the seven-year sojourn at the seminary, Toba was ordained a Roman Catholic Priest on January 1, 1958, being the third black Priest in Cameroon and the first from Kom. The first was Fr. Aloysius Wanki, ordained 1949, Fr. Lucas Ade Atang, 1956, Frs. Mesue and Ivo Ndi Chia, 1957. Enow Williams of Mountain Echoes met him and sought to know the hardest part of being a priest and more. Excerpts:

Mountain Echoes (M.E) : Good morning Mgr. Toba and thank you for accepting to talk to Mountain Echoes.

Mgr.Toba (M.T) : Thank you for equally coming to talk to me.

M.E : Who is Mgr. James Toba?

M.T : It’s myself (chuckles). It’s myself. I am the former principal of this College (1992 – 1999). I was equally Principal of St. Paul’s College Bonjongo from 1967 – 1992 before moving over to Sasse.

M.E : What can you tell us about your academic profile and how you got into your profession?

M.T : I did my primary education at St. Anthony Primary School Njinikom and after that I came to Sasse in 1944 – 1949. After Sasse, I proceeded to the Major Seminary at Enugu from 1950 -1957 and I was ordained priest on January 1, 1958 in Kom. I have worked in Tatum, in Nso, Wum and Nkambe. From Nkambe, I went to Bonjongo in 1961 and in 1964, I went on study leave to the United States. I studied Education at the University of Detroit and returned with a Masters degree in Education to Cameroon in 1967. I took over as principal of Bonjongo in that same year, and later on I became principal of Sasse College in 1992.

M.E : You are the first priest from Kom, how many are there now?

M.T : I don’t how many priest come from Kom today. Fr. Ivo Ndi Chia and I are the first priests from Kom. Both of us were admitted in Sasse in the same year and graduated at the same time. We parted for the Major Seminary at Enugu and were both ordained on the same day. January 1, 1958.

M.E: Mgr Toba you celebrated 50years of priesthood at a time when some priest have thrown up their jobs and others involve in one scandal or another. What makes you stand out?

M.T: There is no other thing other than you stick to the objective and you pray to GOD to help you do his work and you to remain faithful in serving him all the time despite the difficulties involved, and so there is no need looking around what others are doing so you don’t look round to see what your friends are doing but you look on GOD who has called you.

M.E: Like the church, you use to take a tough stand against the use of condoms. Has that changed?

M.T: It has not changed. It is not a tough stand. It is keeping to GOD’s commandments. Respecting what GOD expect of us with the use of sex. And that sex is made by GOD for his own specific purpose. Man should not turn away from that purpose and take it for himself or his own self glorification and then lose sight for GOD.

M.E: When one hears the name Mgr. James Toba, one immediately thinks of how you transform St. Paul’s Teacher Training College to St. Paul’s Higher Technical and Commercial College. Is that what you will want to be remembered for?

M.T: not just that. That’s not the only aspect of my work. I was a priest working among the people in the parish. Baptizing, spreading the word of god and administering the sacraments to the Christians. Education was just part of the ministry i was carrying out. So these were the two functions in which i was involved. i was given by the church to carry out and i did my best.

M.E: Sobans never forget their admission number, what is your admission number and can you comment on life on campus during your days?

M.T: My life here in Sasse was a pleasant one. I love my stay in Sasse. I really enjoyed it. The student population in Sasse was not too large at that time. It was small and we knew each other. We loved each other. Today life in Sasse is difficult. The senior students intimidate the junior ones. They have missed the point. Instead of being brothers to the younger ones they try to exercise their authority over them. It was not same in our time. The older boys took care of us and protected us. There was never a time when you saw a senior student being brutal to the younger one. No, that did not happen. It’s not an exaggeration on my part. It did not just exist. All this practices which I find today are just new ways of life which should be handled with proper care. The school administration should do its best in teaching the students to know how to love and care for their friends rather than seeing them suffer or oppressing them.

M.E: You were not fortunate to teach in Sasse College upon graduation in 1949. However, you came back there in September 1992 and served as Principal for 8 years. All was not a bed of roses, was it?

M.T: To serve in Sasse could never be a bed of roses because it’s a talent. You now needed to instill discipline in the boys and make them turn from the rough ways and it will never be easy. Those who take it kindly and accept their correction will be there, those who are hurt by your correction will also be there. As a principle, you should never relent your efforts in doing what is right and beneficial for the student body academically and physically .

M.E : Three teachers died during your term of office . One other teacher was supposedly poisoned by another following a book deal scandal. How did you handle this and other obstacles?

M.T: The book scandal is the insight of evil that never surfaced out. I think they kept it away from me that a teacher poisoned another one. It never came up in the staff meeting, the disciplinary committee never heard of that nor talked about it, it never came up for discussions in the Board of Governors and consequently it became a scandal that was hidden from the school administration . So, I am hearing of it for the first time.

M.E: When you were Principal of Sasse College, you had seasoned teachers. There was a relatively high level of discipline, but you never recorded 100% in the G.C.E .The Sobans did not take it lightly I presume?

M.T : Not really. No ex-student of any other institution in the country will be happy with low passes. The issue is that we did not filter students coming to Sasse like in other schools. We gave children admissions as they came in. If you wanted to score a 100% at the G.C.E as some schools did you filtered. The poorer grades were left outside. They were not accepted. Some Sobans knew that they have children in Sasse who are poor achievers. They wanted them to go through their alma mater and this could not be denied. We gave them the chance and allowed them to try the examination. They (Sobans) saw the outcome, their own children brought down the percentage. They could not say “I want my child to take the G.C.E out of school. He is a poor achiever and I know he will not make it.” But these where the ones bringing down the school. A time came that we talked to Sobans and pleaded with them not to push issues. Let those who are capable of coming to a class and passing on to the examination class be admitted. Do not just force your child that you are a Soban and that he will just be admitted. Those are some of the difficulties that the Principal in Sasse will be facing and Sobans know it and they will tell you YES.
Sasse hardly scored a 100%. Some Sobans have bright children and some d o not have, those who do not have still want their children to be in Sasse, to take the G.C.E in Sasse. Others do that and they weed out.
So going in to examination classes will be to only those who can make it and when you do this in Sasse you are up fighting with the Sobans. Sobans are proud of Sasse and they are interested in the very good results of Sasse, yet they are the very ones pushing the poor achievers saying they must go up. I think it is high time that the Principal of Sasse should fight against that and say no. Only the bright children should go ahead.
In my term of office we were always hanging around 80%.

M.E : Its like you are you satisfied with general attitude of SOBANS ?

M.T: Well, to what extent? You must be specific. With respect to what? Sobans love Sasse and they like Sasse to progress. They come to the aid of Sasse in major cases and they will not let Sasse down. You are a Soban and you know that’s their attitude both in and out of the Country.

M.E: Why are young ex-students staying away from SOBA?

M.T: Well, maybe they are not independent. Or maybe since they are younger than most of the Sobans, they maybe scared or feel under aged to join such a huge organization. That maybe one of the reasons you know, its human nature, you can not force it. They must learn. I think it is only for the older Sobans who are Masters and who are highly placed and so on who can draw this young Sobans. They shy away because of their position, because they have been their masters and so on. So, that feeling of inferiority in them is always there. It is for them to reach out to them and draw them closer and so the younger ones will feel comfortable and feel free to join and enter SOBA otherwise they will be outside the organization.

M.E: What advice can you give to the younger SOBANS who very much desire to be like Mgr. James Toba?

M.T: Well, let them not try to be like anybody or me because everybody is what God helps him to be. Let them try to be what God will help them to be. You cannot model yourself after any one particular individual. No, God makes us all different, all that we have to ask God is to help us to build up our lives .You know keeping to order and respect as it is in our tradition. The African tradition is so beautiful in that young people respect the authority of elders.
They should not imitate the Western world where authority has been challenged by liberty and freedom and you find it very difficult to tell a child, “Don’t do that.” In the Western world if you tell a child such a thing he will turn and look at you and say, “Who are you to tell me that?” But here in Africa children will not say a thing like that. If they do so it is because they are sometimes under the influence of the Western world. So let’s help our children to learn to be Africans and respect African culture, and the culture of our tradition. Respect the elderly people, respect the seniors and carry out our duties. Let God help us to carry out our duties as pleasing to him and not to help anyone individual to be our models because the ways that God helps one person or the other one you’ll not put it to that mode. Just be what you are and ask God to be what you are and what He wants you to be. That’s it. That’s the best. That’s why we say even in our own Church here that you can’t be a person who tries to model himself on the life of a particular saint. No, that particular saint would have done things extraordinaringly, wonderful things, things that you cannot do. You begin to say you’ll be like him or her. No, be what God wants you to be. Be your own self, your own person and you will achieve what God has destined for you.
M.E: Looking at your achievements vis a vis those of your batch, what do you think about this statement. “The depth of your struggle determines the height of your success “?
M.T:
Well, that’ very true if you don’t work hard. For those who came out of Sasse their pride is the spirit of hard work. If you got out of Sasse and you never continued working you’ll not achieve. But if you continued working and trying to overcome the obstacles on your own way, God will help you to overcome them. So, if you came out and remained static you will not. So that’s what we are proud of as Sobans. All of us who came from Sasse have brothers who are outside the country. If you look at where they are doing is thanks to hard work. They go on working and achieving and toping. So if they didn’t continue their hard work and so on they would not be what they are today and their achievements would be meaningless.

M.E: Who takes the credit for your success? Sasse College, your family or you?

M.T: You know one man is not an island. You came out and you meet people. You know your family, environment, your school, people took care of you and so on and God’s grace. All these bring your success. So it’s not one particular aspect. Sasse could not have done anything if my family did not prepare me for entering into Sasse you see, and Sasse could not have succeeded if God did not bless Sasse and my achievements. So all these combined was to help me in growing to be what I am today.
M.E: Do you have any regrets? – Regret of being born earlier,
-Regret of being a priest,
-Regret of coming to Sasse College,
-Regret of not giving your all as Principal of Sasse College or St. Paul’s Higher and Commercial College Bonjongo?

M.T. : My brother I will not tell you of regrets. I will tell you of gratitude. Thanking God for what He has done for helping me to be his priest and thanking God for making me his priest, thanking God for helping me to carry out the work that He has placed before me and thanking me for helping me to build up the colleges. In Bonjongo where I spent 25 years and for coming to my own Alma matter Sasse and for Him blessing me to be able to join hands with those who built up Sasse. So I have no regrets. I have only gratitude to God and thanking my people and those with whom I worked and my students with whom I worked. I tried to help them grow and I am very happy that I was Principal here and that helped me to be what I am today.

M.E : If you where given the chance to start all over as a Priest , will you go to the seminary in Enugu or to St. Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary in Bambui ?

M.T: Both seminaries have their own role to play and have their own influences on the child. So whether you go to Bambui or you go back to Enugu the one objective is to become a priest. It depends on the teachers who are there. If we still had the same solid teachers that were in my time in Enugu I will start up in Enugu . If the same solid type of teachers are in Bambui I will go to Bambui. Because what we found in those teachers in Enugu is that they were disciplinians and the one objective was to make you a good priest. So those were the kind of priests we had in Enugu and those in Bambui should try to be same because some of those priests teaching in Bambui studied at Enugu.

M.E: You are on retirement and reside in Sasse College. This is not for nothing. Do you receive any monthly allowance from Sasse College?

M.T: No I’m on retirement in Sasse College and given an appointment by the Diocese from the time I retired to be the chaplain to the Carmelite Monastery and I am still chaplain to the Carmelite Monastery here in Sasse. So staying in Sasse and being chaplain is good and I enjoy the work to.

M.E: What is your relationship with the following personalities? Bishop Immanuel Bushu, Bishop Pius Awa and Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Epie .

M.T: They are all cordial relationships. Bishop Emeritus Pius Awa with whom I worked all these years in Soppo is there on retirement and Bishop Immanuel Bushu has taken over and he is now the residential Bishop and administrator of the Diocese. Our relationship is quite cordial and Fr. Emmanuel the young Principal of this college. He’s also a Soban. We live together and so we help each other. If I have any advice I give him. So my relationship with all three of them is very cordial.

M.E: What is the way forward for SOBA, teachers of Sasse and Sasse College?

M.T: Well I think they who are teachers in Sasse College should continue in the footsteps of those who have passed through Sasse and taught in Sasse, worked in Sasse suggestedly work for the good of Sasse College . So those who are teaching should not forget their role and Sobans should not relent their interest for Sasse in trying to help Sasse. Sobans have always been key to help Sasse, key to the help of Sasse in any particular way. But the only thing I am asking the Sobans is that they should let Sasse grow. Sobans should not have any particular self-interest over the college. No, they should be helping Sasse to be free from their ill tendencies. Let them leave Sasse; respect Sasse as their mother college. They should come to Sasse to advice and not to impose their wills on Sasse and on the Principals of Sasse College because that will not be acceptable. In fact that’s not acceptable.

M.E: Any word to your admirers?

M.T: Well those who say they are my admirers and so on. I only ask them to pray for Sasse and let them pray for all priests.

Interview with Njomo Kevin

For “Our Heroes” column this time we selected one of Africa’s finest journalist. A man whose passion always has been to tell stories with flair, emotion and intelligence. He believes the is no rule that a newspaper/radio station has to be boring, so he uses words or graphics that captivates readers/ listeners so as to keep them informed and entertained.
Unlike others, he did not get into journalism for money, and certainly not for fame. But he is a household name in Cameroon and has many awards to his credit. He is Mr. Njomo Kevin, the Station manager of Mount Cameroon FM. Mountain Echoes met him and asked him to talk about the secret of his success. EXCERPTS:

Mountain Echoes (ME): Good morning Mr. Njomo Kevin and thank you for
accepting to talk to Mountain Echoes.

Njomo Kevin (N.K): Good morning Mr. Enow Williams

ME: Talk about yourself, interests and hobbies.

N.K: I am first of all very interested in my country, journalism and religion because Sasse College brought me up morally and spiritually. I am very much interested in Church activities. For my hobbies, I play music and tennis. Talking about myself, I am Njomo Kevin, born in Kumba and I have spent ¾ of my life studying around the South West Province except professional life which has taken me to other places. I am modest, talk a lot but in the positive sense.

ME: Sasse College is and has always been the most prestigious institution of
Secondary education in Cameroon. How and when did you get into it?

N.K: I wrote the common entrance examination in 1965 in Ekona and went for an interview at St Peter’s Catholic School in Muyuka, interviewed by one of the principals of Sasse College, late Rev Father Cunningham. It was a very exciting experience because, when I went to the Fathers’ house for the interview, I was very small and very short. We had to climb a staircase to the Fathers’ house and on the staircase when the principal of Sasse College saw me he drove me away that I was very small and I started weeping. When he noticed that there was somebody crying he sent that I should be brought upstairs and he gave me particular attention. Five of us from my primary school passed the interview and entered Sasse College on September 24, 1965.

ME: Describe a typical school day in Sasse College in your days and tell us your most memorable day in School.

N.K: In Sasse College we got up before 5 o’clock. The timekeeper of each house was responsible of making sure that students got up on time. They rang the bell and you got up before five o’clock and for those of us who came new, we found the environment quite cold and we had to move straight into the shower and take a cold bath. We went to church every morning; Mass was compulsory. We then went to the refectory to have our meal. This was followed by a short assembly and later classes. The assembly was much longer on Sundays because it was used to take stock of what happened during the week and perspective for the following week. After classes at 1:10 we went for lunch, then siesta, manual labor or sports, evening prayer, supper and night preps. At 10pm there was lights out because at the time we used generators since we never had electrical facilities.
For my memorable day in school, there are so many because I was a very sociable student. There was the picture day. This day was a Sunday, and that is when we had to show our pictures to each other. Again, we were the first batch to be admitted in Sasse with girls. We went with four girls, the next year it rose to 12, but that experiment failed and we were in Form three without girls. In Form 4 in 1968, the finals was taking place in Buea for former West Cameroon and I bet you most girls schools chose to lodge in Sasse. We had Okoyong girls, Saker girls, even schools that were not chosen came to Buea and were bent on staying in Sasse. That was another experience because since it is a single sex school, we had to change our behavior considerably: Comport yourself the way you eat, hold your cutlery the way you were taught to do and even your movements were shaped because this was a situation in which girls had to stay on campus for 5 days. Lastly, in June 1969, we wrote the last paper of the London GCE. I had always been thinking of the day I will have personal freedom and that was the day I first tasted beer because it was a symbol of freedom

ME: After Sasse College, where did your quest for knowledge take you?

N.K: It took me to Bishop Rogan College Soppo; we started the high school there; Yaounde, Nigeria and USA. And that entire quest evolved around A-levels, degree in English, degree in journalism and mass communication and a post graduate diploma in journalism.

ME: You probably did not see yourself becoming a journalist while in Sasse College, did you?

N.K: In fact my career started in Sasse College as a journalist. When we got into Sasse in 1965, Zachary kwo and Victor Epie Ngome were senior students. Zachary was in Form 4, Epie Ngome was in Form 3 and Prof. Asong Linus in Form 4 and they had what they called the Press Club. Strangely enough, today all of us are journalists. In my class, Ralph Lyonga, late Sama Buwch, Johro Tambe, and myself, became elders of the Press Club and Asonglefac Nkemleke was in charge of the monitory. He monitored foreign stations and I would write scripts and put on the news board at 6 a.m., so that students could keep abreast with what was happening in the world. I was also a football commentator in the manner of Zachary Kwo. He was the football commentator of the Press Club and I started running commentaries in 1966 when I was in Form 2. By the time I reached Form 5 it was already a vocation in me especially when Sasse had to go and play football out of campus. It brought a lot of fame to the Club. And all of these served as motivating factors.

ME: Let’s take a look at your professional career, sir. You implanted FM 105, Mount Cameroon FM and Poala FM. What’s the secret behind your success?

N.K: Just in a few words, it’s hard work, discipline, devotion, sacrifice, collaboration and love for the profession.

ME: Some people are of the opinion that Mr. Njomo, a celebrated sports reporter has deserted the sports family and turned to animation/entertainment. What do you have to say?

N.K: Mr. Enow, I must first of all say that sports’ reporting is a passion like I told you from 1966. But you see I work in an institution in which the setup is in such a way that if you are not in the sports service it becomes a bit difficult for you to be doing some sports reporting. It got to a point where CRTV had to make a choice about me remaining in the sports service or exclusively in animation/entertainment. One of the general managers said that, in animation like in sports reporting when they listen to me, it is difficult to tell where the preference should be. But because in animation they did not have as many good animators as they desired, I was sent to animation. I must say that because of the passion for sports, even though I am not in the sports service, I must ensure that in any FM station wherever I am working I run a sports program. At the time I was in FM 105 the stadium in Yaounde was being renovated so all the international matches were played in Douala. I ran the sports program. In CRTV Bertoua, and Poala FM I ran sports programs. In mount Cameroon FM, I ran and will still run a sports program.

ME: You have been station manager of Poala FM in Bafoussam; you are presently the station manager of FM Mount Cameroon in Buea. Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years’ time or have you arrived?

N.K: I have not arrived. I will only arrive when I am dead because I keep moving. In 5 years’ time I might not be speaking of CRTV anymore, as I am approaching retirement. Besides, there is the feeling to explore and experience everything in this profession. My plans have been settled to do production and why not even in retirement give a helping hand to other stations or create my own radio station.

ME: What is “Grapevine” and who are you targeting every Sunday on Cameroon Calling?

N.K: “Grapevine” specifically is gossip and I chose that name because it is positive gossip. It is gossip because you are showing the other side of things and people that has never been discovered and basically when you are talking about somebody, on things he has not talked about himself, in pidgin we say “kongossa”. The people I am targeting are those whose age ranges from fifteen years to a hundred. Why do I say from fifteen years? Because the older generation I want them to re- live the experiences of the past. The human being naturally is very nostalgic about the past. And again, the economic and social situation of the country has dampened the spirit of so many people and has kept so many people of the older generation depressed. And I always feel that when you are reminded about a glorious moment you had in your life, it rekindles life in you again. In fact one of the major reasons I brought up “Grapevine” is because I wanted to use it as a healing process for the older generation and a learning process for the younger generation.

ME: You have a gorgeous résumé; you are a mentor to many young journalists as well as a household name in Cameroon. But all has not been a bed of roses, has it?

N.K.: Not at all. I will take you over to Nigeria because I worked with the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation in Lagos, in Enugu, and in Calabar. During the multi-party politics there was political pressure. I am talking about 1979. It became a bit difficult as a journalist to operate because that was the first time I was experiencing my profession in a multi-party setting. At the time it was in West Cameroon and I was still in school. I had to be very cautious because I had grown up in a one party system and it was now difficult to get really adjusted, and on several occasions I stepped on the toes of so many people and I had many bitter experiences. But they groomed me. In Cameroon in the early 80’s, I got locked up in Buea. That was specifically in 1983. In CRTV during the 1992-94 period, that was one of the most difficult periods I went through. I remarked at one time that I was at the apex of sports reporting but I was never given the opportunity to explode. At that time I felt pretty frustrated. When I was taken over into animation I accepted it because it was still part of the profession. In Douala that frustration continued and I was going to break when I was running F.M.105 SWELABA. In that depressed state, with the drastic cut in salaries, I thought I needed some spiritual rejuvenation and an academic revitalization.

ME: Mr. Njomo was alleged to have disappeared from FM 105 in 1994. Why did you leave, where did you go and when did you return?

N.K.: In Douala I was professionally frustrated because inasmuch as the radio station was moving on well, I did not have the opportunity to express myself fully. A bit of politicking …and when I found that I had blockades to allow me express myself, I thought that I should take a break. In 1994, I went to the U.S. for the World Cup and came back to Cameroon. My plans had already been properly sealed. I came back because I had not yet had an authorization to travel to the U.S. as I wanted to go for a refresher course on FM broadcasting. I had that opportunity in March 1995. I went to the U.S. for two reasons; to be able to refresh myself intellectually and also to see whether there were any openings for me to be able to go through the economic drawback that most of us were facing at the time. I came back in 1997and in 1998 I was re-posted to CRTV Bertoua.

ME: Unlike in your days, Sasse College has computes, telephone and Internet facilities, diverse clubs, guidance counselors, University lecturers, a team of medical doctors and nurses amongst others. Regrettably some students don’t make use of these facilities. Is there something that you left or overlooked especially in your days in Sasse College that would have made you even more successful than you have been so far?

N.K.: When we were in Sasse there was a subject we did call Manual Arts, which we did not like. But in my later life, I discovered that if I had put in a bit of interest, I would have been a computer wizard today. Again I did not fully exploit the library which was in Sasse College. I went to the library, but I think like somebody who was in the Press Club, I would have exploited it more because towards the end of my stay in Sasse, I discovered there were a lot of books that could strike your imagination.

ME: How does it feel to head Mount Cameroon FM at a time when there is stiff competition from at least five other private radio stations in the Province?

N.K.: Its more challenging for me now, more than in 2000 when we launched the station. It is because of the numerous radio stations, not only in the Province. It is very challenging because it is coming at the end of my career. The physical energy, which I carried all along, is no longer there. Well, I am making desperate efforts to ensure that I stand the test of time on this radio station. It is more demanding now.

ME: Mr. Njomo, as a journalist (animator/administrator), score yourself on 10.

N.K.: What a question! Mr. Enow. It is so difficult to score oneself, but if I were to imagine what my aspirations were, I would think that I would be touching 7/10.

ME: Keeping journalism aside, what else are you into?

N.K.: Music has been a passion for me and that is why up till today I run a lot of entertainment programs on radio especially the old timers because it is a retrospective look into the 50’s and 60’s.

ME: What is your relationship with SOBA and to which chapter do you belong?

N.K.: I have been like a migratory bird. First of all I am a Soban like you, and I will always adhere to a chapter wherever I find myself. You will like to know that in Bafoussam, we were just four of us Sobans, but we always made an effort to meet and not long ago when the National Executive was in Dschang to brief the chapter there on what was happening in Soba, I was there. Now I will adhere to the Buea Chapter.

ME: It is said that if you wish to be remembered when you die, you should either do something worth writing about or write something worth reading. To this end, Will Mr. Njomo Kevin be remembered when he dies and for what?

N.K.: Sincerely there are people who will remember me if I die. To begin with, my children, wife and family friends will remember me. Very close friends will hardly forget me. The number of fans whose hearts I touched will hardly forget me, and I like that if I die people should remember me as “a selfless servant”.

ME: There are very few journalists who are Sobans I suppose. What in your opinion might be the cause and what are you doing about it?

N.K.: Few here Mr. Enow is very relative. When I say relative, it is because as the first institution it is expected that they would have choked most of the profession and of course they have choked a good number of professions. One would expect that we should have choked the journalism profession but if you were to look at it from a modest angle, there are quite an appreciative number of Sobans, who are journalists. But with the Soban pride, the number is small. In CRTV there are at least ten of us who are actually practicing now.

ME: You are a fantastic animator, a prolific writer, and a seasoned administrator. Your workers say you are friendly, dynamic, flexible, sociable, emotionally stable and above all fatherly. Who takes the credit for such a sound formation, Sasse College or your family?

N.K.: I give a lot of credit to Sasse College. If I am what I am today, it is because of Sasse College. To be frank, university came only to polish me up. The essential material that you see and listen to today is Sasse College. The writing, the English Language basically in Sasse College and the environment had things like impromptu and speeches that drilled me. There is a book, English Leaving Structure that was given to us in September 1965. In the University of Yaounde, we still found that book very useful. In fact, I am Sasse. If you say that I am a prolific writer today, it is because of the kind of education Sasse gave me. I had a lot of moral upbringing in Sasse College. My family takes some credit definitely. I begin with my father (of late) and my mother. The fact that they sent me to a school like Sasse College was a very serious motivation. Credit goes to my brothers and sisters, my wife in particular, to whom I give a lot of credit, because she has done a lot to make me become somber and more knowledgeable. I give credit to my classmates who have always been like a mirror of autocriticism that has helped me. My fans and collaborators too.

ME: If you were given the opportunity to start all over, will you still choose Sasse College? If yes why, if not why not?

N.K.: If I am given the opportunity to choose 100 times, I will choose Sasse 100 times. Because Sasse College has made me ideal not only because I went there, but also, it has given everybody that went there that feeling of self-confidence, and that overrides everything in my opinion, in my life. From when I went to Sasse we discovered that all other colleges were modeling what ever they were doing from Sasse College. The administration always made us know that we were unique in all aspects of life. First of all, Sasse means “good English”. When you talk to any body he says “no talk me Sasse”. I remember in 1968, Mr. Muna, P.M. of Southern Cameroon came to Sasse and said “I am in Sasse College, speaking Sasse to Sasse students”. Sasse was synonymous to good English. So if I am given the opportunity 100 times, I’ll go back to Sasse College.

ME: Is Mr. Njomo Kevin a happy Cameroonian?

N.K.: Generally I am a happy Cameroonian. Happiness is a state of mind and that does not mean I have all the materials around me. It is an evaluation of your life and by evaluation, I am a happy Cameroonian because I have a good job, earn a good salary, happy with my spiritual life, I am married with very successful children. I have a lot of peace in my immediate family and extended family. I am in my 50’s and I still have my mother. I am indeed a happy man

ME: If your were asked to address the 2006 graduating batch of Sasse College, so as to make them very successful in life, what will you say?

N.K.: They should take one guiding principle. Many people might have gone through Sasse without knowing that there is a motto in Sasse that if you actually adhere to it, your studies will be a success. Nothing is better than “Fides Quaerens Intellectum” and if you go there you will find discipline, focus, moral upbringing. Let them go back, analyse the motto of the school and take it in its entirety.

ME: If you had to make a request on behalf of teachers of Sasse College to the proprietor of the College, who happens to be Bishop Pius Awa, what will that be?

N.K.: They should step up the pay package of the teachers because when you look at Sasse College over numerous years, you will always find out that the school is producing very good results and successful students in life. The teachers there do most of this moulding, and I think with the economic situation of the country, if I had one appeal to make to the proprietor of the school, it will be that they should step up the salaries of the teachers and make them much happier than they are today.

ME: Mr. Njomo, it’s been a pleasure talking to you.

N.K.: It’s really my pleasure. If Sasse College classes me as one of its heroes, then I am accomplished.

Interviewed by Enow Williams.

A Symbol of Strength And Uprightness

Pillar and caterpillar are two things with contrasting or dissimilar features. A pillar is an inanimate object, usually a relatively slender column made of stone, wood or metal. It is fancied by many for its load-bearing or stabilizing function, and when it stands alone as do commemoration pillars, it is splendid.
Butterflies and moths in the larval stage of development are called caterpillars- from the latin catta pilosa, meaning ‘hairy cat’ (not all caterpillars are hairy). They eat voraciously, and can cause widespread damage to trees, flowers and crops. Generally, caterpillars are unattractive and are detested by many because, some give off unpleasant smells, while others grow poisonous nettlelike hairs
Pillars are symbols of strength, uprightness and firmness, while caterpillars represent destruction, demolition and disintegration. Each and every one of us consciously or unconsciously carries these traits like Ezeulu’s proverbial goatskin bag.
Irrespective of the position we hold in society, whether as local administrators, clergy, principals, university rectors, ministers and the like, we can either be pillars or caterpillars of our community, council, church, school, university, ministry or wherever we find ourselves
Though seemingly lifeless, a pillar carries far more load than we the living would agree to carry. How many of us can accept the load of sharing the little we have with our hungry brother? Can we, without grudge, accept the load of lending a hand to a drowning brother? Can we in truth be our brother’s keeper? Can we in all honesty practice what we preach or fulfill our endless promises? Unfortunately, many of us who are assigned the role of pillars, are caterpillars instead. Where is the place of justice and equality in our society when our supposed pillars are caterpillars instead? How do we account for the absence of transparency and good governance at all levels of society? What hopes are there for the starving, uneducated, malnourished and sick children on our streets who have no pillars to lean on but helplessly and inevitably wait on the caterpillar to devour them?
A caterpillar by its nature is destructive. When a caterpillar hatches from the eggs laid by a female butterfly or moth, it is usually very small. But it grows rapidly and soon gets too large for its skin. Thereupon the old skin splits, and the caterpillar wiggles out of it, revealing a soft new covering. Some caterpillars eat their old skins and cause severe damage to vegetation. The caterpillars of our society are agents of destruction too. Some kill their own children through cults and secret societies, others have brought down upright government officials and local administrators through slander. These caterpillars destroy when they set confusion in the institutions in which they find themselves, assassinate people’s characters and see nothing good in what others do. They destroy by night what others build by day.
The society’s caterpillars resist development and encourage sabotage. They are bent on getting at the top even if it means being stooges or sycophants, and after crossing the bridge, they destroy it. By design, caterpillars are ugly and unfriendly to many. The 21st century caterpillars create unpleasant or ugly scenes in their community by unjustly claiming a piece of land, contesting a chieftaincy title, fighting with widows or widowers over inheritance. Regrettably, caterpillars are eaten by many birds. This is perhaps a natural way to pay for its destructiveness. The caterpillars of our society like the biblical Nebucannzzer will definitely meet their waterloo.
The good news is that a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly, which is in itself a reflection of society’s beauty, hope and creativity. All caterpillars of society equally have the chance of undergoing this transition from being destructive to being creative, from being detrimental to being instrumental. Though not all caterpillars have the luck of reaching the butterfly stage, all have the chance to decide now, for there is no time like now, as one scholar rightly puts it;
“the past cannot be regained, although we can learn from it; the future is not yet ours even though we must plan for it. We have only today.”
Equality is a pillar of socialism, while inequality is an obstacle of human progress. The great pillars of our time- the Mandelas, the Nyereres, the Nkrumahs, the Ghandis, the Churchills, the John Pauls, the Roosevelts all stood firmly against obstacles to human progress in all its forms. But they required many tools in this fight for the survival of the human race.
In this light therefore, the struggle to change our community is a collective one. Become the pillar in your community you are called to be.

Enow Williams

Interview with Mr. John EWang Ndelle

We have as our hero, one of the best teachers still living. A seasoned Historian and celebrated chief examiner of ‘O’ – Level History for the Cameroon G.C.E. Board. He served as Vice–Principal and Dean of Studies of Sasse College for 13 years. During this period, he restarted the Arts section of the High School. This paid off a few years after his departure with Sasse College producing the first student ever to have 5 ‘A’ – Level subjects in the Arts. Enow Williams of Mountain Echoes met him in his K-town residence and asked him to throw more light on his 28 years of serving the Catholic Mission.

Mountain Echoes [M.E] Good morning sir, and thank you for accepting to talk with Mountain Echoes.
John Ewang Ndelle [J.E.N] Thank you Willy, welcome to my humble home.
M.E: Who is John Ewang Ndelle?
J.E.N: John E wang Ndelle is the son of late pa Joseph Ewang Ndelle and Madame Sophie Mbolle. I was born some 58 years ago at Tiko. I did my primary education at CDC school Ekona before going to Sasse College. I am the first in a family of 8,3 brothers and 5 sisters. One of my sisters is of late and I am the family head for 23 years now.
M.E: When were you admitted into Sasse College and what is your admission number?
J.E.N: I was admitted into Sasse College in January 1962 by late Father Damen. My admission number is 1331.
M.E: How did you get into the teaching profession?
J.E.N: After having my B.A degree from the University of Lagos in 1978, I was appointed by the Catholic Education Authority and posted to Sasse College to teach by Mr.Tansinda, the then Education Secretary.
M.E: Why did you settle for Sasse College? Why did you not prefer to teach in the state –owned college in Nyassoso or Akwaya?
J.E.N: Okay, that is a beautiful question. Several reasons might have accounted for that. My parents wanted me to be around. My Mother is an ardent Christian and advised me to serve God for a while. Its not all the time you look for money. I somehow hearkened to her advice. I thought that it will be for a short spell but it has turned up to be for a long spell. I had a government job, I had other jobs but I think that the advice of my mother put a lot of pressure on me. I also thought that the government job would be moving me away from them time and again.
M.E: I understand you were both Dean and Vice Principal in Sasse College for 13 years. How did you get there?
J.E.N: That’s true. I was first of all Vice Principal then later appointed as Dean. The posts were not cumulative. It was after some restructuring that it was decided that the Vice Principal should also be the Dean of Studies. This was to make the Vice Principal more focused in academics, controlling teachers and seeing how results could be improved instead of the pastoral role he usually plays in the absence of the Principal.
M.E: Are you a trained teacher?
J.E.N: I have been teaching for 28 years. I never went to a training school. I am a history graduate from the University of Lagos. I have picked education on the job as I do a lot of reading on educational psychology, curriculum studies and teaching, and I see no difference between a trained teacher and myself.
M.E: So what accounts for your exceptional records in History at end of course examinations?
J.E.N: That’s an interesting question. First and foremost if you are sharp and you have been assigned a duty, you should know what you are doing. Once you know what you are doing, you know the requirement of your job. You should know what is expected of you as a teacher in an examination class. It’s true, as I have said, I read a lot of books on psychology, methodology on teaching the subject. At least as a graduate I can read from books and put them into practice. This is what I have been doing and it has paid off, so I don’t see why training is necessary. You learn on the job. You must know who an educationist is; and his role in the society. Once you know this, you set your goals and strive to meet them.
M.E: It’s like it’s difficult for Catholic teachers to sponsor their children in Catholic Colleges let alone build a house?
J.E.N: You may be right in a sense. But management or better still planning your life does not only depend on money – how much you receive, how much you save, but it depends on how organised you are. Set your goals and try to see how you can achieve them. Planning for your future is a long-term goal. Previously the Mission was very keen on helping their teachers because most of the Principals were very understanding. Somehow the teachers were made to space out the fees and pay instalmentally until they paid all the fees. So Mission teachers could manage as I think most of them trained their children that way. Nowadays I don’t know whether this policy is still applicable. But the thing that has made most Mission teachers not to opt for boarding schools is because the fees are too high. Imagine that it costs about 500.000 FCFA to put a child in Sasse College for one year [putting all expenditures together] and you have about 3 or 4 children; what is your pay? Or 350.000 FCFA as fees for a child in S.F.C. Kumba and your salary is not as good. So most Mission teachers have gone to public schools as a matter of necessity and not as a matter of choice. If the authorities could give the teachers in Catholic Colleges some concessions like spacing out the fees, I think most of them will train their children in Catholic schools, that is if they want to keep their teachers.
M.E: I know of medical doctors who wish to see their children become medical doctors. Do you wish to see your child become a Catholic Mission teacher?
J.E.N: It depends on his spirituality. You see each person in life has his choice. If my child chooses to become a Catholic Mission teacher, I cannot prevent him. Even though the base is low, I can’t prevent him. He may have his own reasons for doing so. Maybe the spiritual gains in working for a Church are different from the material gains. Ask why people become priests, sisters? It’s a question of vocation. So if it is his vocation to teach with the Catholic Mission I cannot stop him. But if he is coming in for strictly economic and pecuniary reasons I wouldn’t advice him.
M.E: Who were some of your mates in Sasse College and what is your relationship with them today?
J.E.N: We started off in 1962, 72 of us. In 1966 when we were leaving we graduated 49. I think 91% of those students got their GCE following the current standards. Many of them are in and out of the country and we are constantly in touch. There are some around like chief Makoge; we visit each other, Kapoua, Minsa, Francis Ndah, name them, Douala Njie, Njonkam – we are constantly in touch. Since we are now growing old, when we are bereaved or have some other problems we get together. My relationship with them is cordial. Last time we went to bury one of my bosom classmates, Dr. Nama. I was very touched. His passing away some sort of prolonged our desire to celebrate our ruby jubilee.
M:E: What did you take from Sasse College into the world?
J:E:N: That question is tempting. First I am happy that I received a good Christian education. So morally I got discipline from them. The second thing is the motto of Sasse which ties with knowledge and putting your faith in God. These are the things I have taken from Sasse College because I know every knowledge comes from God. It has happened and I can testify that if students follow the motto of Sasse College very well, they will not be failures in life in their academic pursuits. It’s not to be too dogmatic but Sasse trains students to seek for knowledge with a lot of faith.
M:E: When was the last time you visited Sasse College?
J.E.N: I was there in March this year for an unofficial visit to the College Principal Rev. Fr. Joe Awoh and had been there earlier to condole with him when he lost his mother.
M.E: How does it feel knowing that you were one of the best in your batch, yet others are where you should have been due to the good grace of a bad system?
J.E.N: Okay, you ask me that question. When you look at life, you can be bright but life has its own dynamics which are quite different when you leave school. Re-adjusting to the situation when you think you are very intelligent might not work out the way you want because of certain constraints – your family background, your connections, your family position, the difficulty within your family: they can retard your progress. You may be seeking scholarship and don’t get it not because you are not qualified but because you lack the required connection. I would have loved to be a pharmacist but I trained as a historian in a very good university and have no regrets. I think if I had the opportunity I would have got my PhD ever since, but family constraints have kept me where I am. So PhD is not the problem but family constraints. I know you are looking at it from that angle; please don’t.
M.E: You re-started the Arts Section [Lower and Upper Sixth Arts] of Sasse College. Has it paid off today?
J.E.N: That’s true. We were arguing with a group of friends in Tole. Our science colleagues had the belief that they were more productive than the Arts graduates. So I asked my colleagues, “why don’t we see if we can start the Arts.”? So I went to the principal, Mr. Ngando Ferdinand, talked to him, convinced him and he took the matter to the bishop and the bishop said, “Let’s give it a try.” We tried it and it has worked out. I don’t know how many students you have now but for the number of years that Sasse has had the Arts section, I think they have been doing pretty well. If I’m not mistaken, an Arts student had five A/L papers, so you see the type if education that Sasse gives – all round because I know the young man, Ako Achere, who is an accountant now in one big firm. Many of the students I taught in the High School are doing pretty well. Some of them have their Masters, PhDs, others hold big positions in companies, and others are top lawyers in the country. I feel very proud. They have not let us down and I think students who are still there are doing fine from the results I see.
M.E: When did you become a chief examiner for O/L History for the Cameroon GCE Board?
J.E.N: This question keeps on coming. I will say that my history with the Cameroon GCE Board started in 1979, when I was invited to mark in Yaounde. The exam then was under the former Ministry of National Education. I became a resource person for the exam and later became a lead examiner in 1982. In 1987 I was made Assistant Chief Examiner, and in 1998 I was made Chief examiner. Personally I think we have done a lot to the syllabus development of the Cameroon GCE O/L syllabus restructuring, planning, etc Seriousness and assiduity have contributed to place me where I am.
M.E: Did your teaching career in Sasse College contribute to it?
J.E.N: Definitely. It contributed in the academic component of the exams as an examiner. I was exposed to a lot of literature. I had contacts with international authors and later became a reviewer of some of their books. I think Sasse has helped in that light. But I think St. Francis has helped in giving me a new dimension at looking at the exams. Sasse has “more brighter students” than St. Francis because they are more exposed to the world. St. Francis helped me to know the Cameroonian child and to put the exam at the teacher and student level. Both have helped to make me a better resource person for the GCE Board.
M.E: Another Soban is at the helm of the GCE Board. What prospects for the future?
J.E.N: The GCE Board has come to be a veritable academic institution which has attained an acceptable recognised international level. The new Registrar knows that and everybody who enters that office must know that. I think Mr. Monono knows that that office demands excellence. As a Soban I think he will provide excellence and will work hard like Dr. Yembe did. I congratulate Mr. Monono, he has a rich CV, and pledge my full support for him, as one of his chief technicians.
M.E: Sir, apart from teaching, what else are you into?
J.E.N: I am a writer. I practised journalism for a time but gave it up because people said I was too critical. This of course was in the hey days of multipartism in Cameroon. Apart from these two, I am also a farmer. I take care of my father’s plantation.
M.E: Now, talking about books and writing, how many have you published?
J.E.N: I have published four.
M.E: What, in your opinion, is the reason for Sasse not scoring 100% in the GCE for some years now?
J.E.N: Why is there so much talk about 100%? A school can send in 2 candidates and they all pass and that will be 100%, another school sends in 300 candidates and 296 succeed which is not 100% pass. However, the latter has contributed more to the development of manpower in the country than the former. It may also be that candidates in a school that scored 100% have weak grades while those in schools that score 90% and above have excellent grades. We should be more concerned with the grades than the percentage. If in a school of 100 candidates 35 have 11 papers, 25 have 10 papers, 20 have 9 papers and so on and for some reason 2 students fail because they were sick and landed the school on 98%. Within the 11, 10, 9 papers, you have As, Bs etc. I think the school has quality results which is what Cameroon needs now, and Sasse is doing just that. As an examiner and as a chief I know what goes on, so I am not very concerned about 100%. I am encouraged with the results that Sasse College has produced so far. One student had five papers in the Arts and the grades were not bad. He had a couple of Cs and As. We should be interested in grades because in future, the good schools will be admitting students based on the quality of their passes.
M.E: Are you saying that you will not be happy if Sasse were to score 100%?
J.E.N: I will be very happy. But this happiness will be like that of any other Cameroonian who just sees the GCE results and Radio Cameroon makes a whole show of it, and then people boast about it. I, too, will want to boast about it. That’s a layman’s way of looking at it. So while rejoicing at it as a layman, I, talking as someone involved in the process of evaluating students, would not say that Sasse should not have 100%, but the quality is what matters.
M.E: Some people are of the opinion that Sasse is living on past glories. Are you of that opinion or is the future still bright for the College?
J.E.N: This idea is an illusion that I will not like people to dabble in. It’s like giving a dog a bad name. It’s a lie. Sasse has produced and will continue to produce rare quality men; if they have quality teachers they will continue to do this. That’s my belief. It is a school where students want to go because there is excellence. There is that spirit of sobanism and sasseism in the students that have passed through Sasse. The thing most people don’t know about Sasse students is that they don’t want only to excel at this local level. They want to excel internationally. So when you look at the few directors, mayors, delegates, you may not find Sobans. Just try internationally! There are young men who are coming up who have a brighter future. They will keep the flag flying.
M.E: Sir, as an academic, as somebody who has taught for 28 years, is the most intelligent student in class necessarily the student with the brightest future?
J.E.N: No. Far from it. This is a very intriguing question. The brightest student might not be the luckiest after school. But with luck on his side he stands a better chance. What the Cameroon government should do to retain her bright minds is for the universities to give them scholarships and train them abroad, not here. We don’t have the facilities here. Exposure is very important. The masters under who you train should not be local heroes. They should have some international cloud on them.
M.E: How do you see Catholic Mission teachers by 2010?
J.E.N: By then I must have left the fold. I will see, but God works in mysterious ways. If I were to suggest to the authorities that be, something has to be done to improve on their condition, else they will continue losing young men. Presently, the conditions under which they work, their pay, amenities are not attractive for any ambitious young man, except those who want to be with them in spirit. Catholic education will still continue after 2010 because it is an institution but some reforms must be carried out. It has reached a level where the authorities in Catholic education have to look into it and not look at general situation, if they have to maintain their standards, the equality they are preaching because the demands on the Catholic teacher are more than those on the government teacher. They are not only teaching but perform pastoral duties which should be paid for. A government teacher may have four hours a week and, after teaching he leaves. This is not the case with a Mission teacher. After classes he stays behind, scrutinises the homework, talks to the weak students and tries to bring them up morally. It takes time. Most of them are acting locus parentis. They are not only teachers as such and have to be paid for their young age. Let’s be honest. The economy is moving. You do not expect somebody to do all that job for nothing. There must be a token to cater for that so that he will be attracted to stay.
M.E: That is why they give them houses in campus; government teachers are not housed by their schools!
J.E.N: If that is the only amenity you are looking at. What type of houses do they give? I just imagine myself when Lagos State Government gave me a teaching job. They offered me a two bedroom flat. Do you have a two bedroom flat? Why talk of being housed when you live no better than when you were in the university? Something should be done; not necessarily money. Maybe medical care, reduction in fees for children of Catholic teachers, maybe better housing facilities, maybe pay 20% of their electricity or water bills, etc.
M.E: If you were asked to say a word or two to the 2006 graduating batch, what will you say?
J.E.N: Well, as a Soban, I wish them luck. I wish that they all pass. That is, they should score 100% as you have said. But, I will advise them to go in for grades. They have to work for their grades. They should make a lot of effort to revise past questions, should put their teachers to task during this one month period left. They should take a good rest and should not agitate their minds.
M.E: Is Mr. John Ewang Ndelle a happy man, or better still, a happy Cameroonian?
J.E.N: I am a happy man except for the death of my first son which still keeps me depressed once in a while. Generally I used to train my mind to be contented with what I have. This helps me to avoid certain ailments both physically and spiritually and I thank God for it. But as to the general welfare of the country, as somebody who was once involved in politics, I am sick. When I look at the country, the way it is run, the level of corruption, the inability of Cameroonians to move ahead. They are suffering from inertia. They are lethargic, all symbols of people who don’t want progress. When you look at it as a historian and compare Cameroon with Malaysia in 1960, or with Singapore, or even Vietnam, India now, the people are progressing. I ask myself, is it worth being in Cameroon? Do the people who are in charge have love for this country? This makes me sick and I don’t like talking about it. There are a few good people, but they are a drop in the ocean of corruption.
We are in Easter and Christ was the leader who sacrificed his life for us, so our leaders, like Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr, should sacrifice for our country rather than embezzling our money.
M.E: Mr. John Ewang Ndelle, it’s been a pleasure talking to you?
J.E.N: Thank you for coming. I hope students of Sasse will read the advice and try to keep the flag of that institution flying, which I am very proud to be a member. They should try to train their minds, or better still, have a developed mind. They should be great names like Dr. Victor Anomah Ngu, a Soban I respect very much for his dedicated service to humanity. If there is a Soban I would like them to emulate, it is Dr. Anomah Ngu. He has set a pace that some of us envy; that money is not what makes a man but what he gives to the society.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk to the students and we hope to be in Sasse in December for our Ruby Jubilee.

BE HAPPY

THE clock strikes 11:58 p.m., barely two minutes to the end of the day. Soon another day will pass with somebody’s dreams still unaccomplished, his hopes dashed away, his talents not exploited, his potentials untapped, and his endless sacrifices still unrecognised. But miraculously he still carries on, thanking God immensely for giving him the opportunity to see each brand-new day.
My friend Peter is one of such persons. He told me his happiness comes from the following words on his door post which he always reads when leaving or entering his house: “A diamond doesn’t lose its value due to lack of admiration”.
Of course Peter is not alone in this situation, for I know of persons who sit and watch others dance in a gathering, but the moment they get up to join those on the dance floor, the drums develop a problem.
They use one year to get their “O” Levels but more than five to get their “A” Levels. Others are appointed ministers, but before people mobilise for their homecoming, they have been dropped. Some people serve their master(s) faithfully, but just when they are due settlement they are kicked out.
There are a lot of bitter feelings. Some are bitter with their country, Cameroon, others are bitter with their bosses. Still others are bitter with their spouses, friends, and business partners. Some students are bitter with their teachers, and one can dare say, some teachers are bitter with each other!
Surprisingly, some people are bitter with themselves or are bitter with God! Lady, you are angry with God and have not forgiven him for not giving you a child until now. You are angry with God for allowing your husband – your only source of joy, to die under mysterious circumstances. You are bitter with God for missing a scholarship you merited but which you lost for obvious reasons. You may still be bitter with yourself for the curses you brought on yourself as a result of your despicable deeds.
The truth is that no matter what has happened, no matter how depressed you are, you are still a diamond. Do not be bitter, you can still turn things around. You still have your role to play in the society and create a positive impact in somebody’s life. Destiny can only be delayed, but not denied.
It’s true there are many obstacles, but let us learn like Booker Washington that “ success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which one has overcome while trying to succeed.” Abraham Lincoln had a catalogue of disappointments, but he became one of America’s famous presidents. Be happy and friendly, always remembering that it is hard even for the most selfish man to eat fish in darkness.

Some people are happy over the misfortune of their enemies, others are happy when their rivals falter. Some masters (or heads of establishments) are happy when their servants (or subordinates) are ridiculed or are in a miserable condition. This does not take away the irony that there are those who are unhappy with their present state but will be happy if they were in another person’s shoes.
This is not the type of happiness I am talking about. I am talking about genuine happiness. According to the novelist philosopher Ayn Rand, “Happiness is not the satisfaction of whatever irrational wishes you might blindly attempt to enjoy. Happiness is a state of non-contradictory joy – a joy without penalty or guilt… Happiness is possible only to a rational man, the man who desires nothing but rational goals, seeks nothing but rational values, and finds his joy in nothing but rational actions… there are no victims and no conflicts of interest among rational men, men who do not desire the unearned…”
We humans are social beings. We come into the world as the result of others’ actions. We can only survive here by depending on others. Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives when we do not benefit from others’ activities. For this reason it is hardly surprising that most of our happiness arises in the context of our relationships with others. There is a wonderful mythical law of nature that: the three things we crave most in life — happiness, freedom, and peace of mind — are always attained by giving them to someone else. Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to yourself and others.

There are as many nights as days, and the one is just as long as the other in the year’s course. Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word ‘happy’ would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness!

Enow Williams

http://enowil.wordpress.com

THE MIND AT LAST IS AT REST

27 years is a very long time in the life of a human being. Long enough for a child to grow into adulthood; long enough for a generation of peers to pass away, long enough for once renowned acts of courage and defiance to recede into vague memories; long enough for the names of those who committed those acts to be forgotten and buried in the past, but not long enough if dreams are finally realised, visions fulfilled and excellence is rewarded. The new Catholic Education Secretary with a new vision for Catholic Mission Colleges and Catholic Mission teachers did just that, when he rewarded excellence.
Undoubtedly, the Pretoria regime hoped comrade Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela will be forgotten and his hopes tarnished when it condemned him and seven of his colleagues to imprisonment for the rest of their lives.
Mandela became the most widely known figure in the struggle against the apartheid. Among opponents of the apartheid in South Africa and internationally, he became a cultural icon of freedom and equality comparable to Mahatma Gandhi.
He has received over a hundred awards over four decades, most notably the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. His mind at last is at rest because of the end of apartheid and the transition of multi-racial democracy in South Africa.
George W. Bush as a governor of Texas was an advocate of capital punishment. He came to the White House under questionable circumstances and went to war with Iraq under controversial circumstances. His mind is at last at rest because he wanted Saddam Hussein and Charles Taylor out, and they are out. His father won the 1st Gulf War, but it costs him the White House. George Bush won the 2nd Gulf War, and also retained the White House. His mind should certainly be at rest.
The annual objectives of the school for the 2006/2007 school year is: Order, Discipline and Academic Excellence. The rationale behind this is to keep the school in focus. Parents and guardians are called upon to assist the school in seeing that these objectives are realized. From the 5th of September 2006, there has been order in the dormitories, order in the refectory, Order in the academic block even when there is black out. The students are disciplined as they go for outings and come back on time, they pick up any litter they find on campus and do not attend to their visitors without permission from the discipline masters. Brutality and theft among students have diminished greatly.
For academic excellence, every class master is trying to make his/her class have a 100% promotion to the next class. But the mind will only be at rest when Sasse maintains the 100% mark at the G.C.E. ‘O’ levels and hits the same target at the G.C.E. ‘A’ levels for 2007.
There is no gainsaying that Catholic Mission teachers have low but regular salaries. Surprisingly, most retired Catholic Mission teachers or those that are due retirement, have their children well placed in the society (some are medical doctors, lawyers, engineers, bankers, priests, etc…). Was this possible only with their meagre salary? Or was there some kind of divine intervention? Whatever the case, the minds of these retired Catholic Mission teachers are certainly at rest, especially as the new Catholic Educational Secretary awarded them prizes for meritorious services.
If you were not rewarded now, don’t feel bad. Your time will come. Be realistic and work hard, after all, being blind doesn’t mean one cannot dream or imagine.

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