Today is Teachers Day. In my mind I have one teacher I would have loved to hear him talk today. His name is Afu Stephen, the President of The Presbyterian Education Authority Teachers’ Trade Union, PEATTU.
He is a proud teacher, a trade unionist and above all, a reformist. I remember how on April 24, 2010 despite resistance from the Presbyterian Education authorities, he took courage in his right hand and determination in left hand to launch PEATU. I also recalled what (he) Afuh Stephen said. He condemned bribery, blackmail, tribalism and other ills within the education sector of the Church, stressing that nobody was more Presbyterian than the other and concluded that "PEATTU will fight against all such vices with all its might”. Many factors shape a child’s success, but in schools nothing matters as much as the quality of teaching and the conditions of teachers. And nothing as well matters as much as the teacher expertise.
As we celebrate Teachers Day, Afu stands tall in the madding crowd of teachers’ trade unionists in Cameroon as an exemplary voice of the teachers and for grapping the most essential in perspective. In August 2010, Stephen Afu and Michael Kima, President and Vice, respectively, were detained following a complaint from Joseph Baboni, by then Presbyterian Education Secretary. Their crime as Manyong Peterkings puts it was for “disturbing the quiet enjoyment of “Baboni Mugabe” the then Presbyterian Education boss”.
The clash had its origins in the wide gap between the luxury surrounded lifestyle of Presbyterian Education authorities, Baboni for instance, and that of the average Presbyterian teacher who lives in a ghetto and feeds on garbage, beans, achu etc.
5 years since the creation of PEATU, one can only borrow from Elizabeth Green, the author of “Building A Better Teacher” to describe Afu’s worth. He is what Elizabeth calls the “myth of the natural-born teacher”, a description that makes a good teacher to be like panning for gold.
When News Breaks Out, We Break In. (The 2014 Bloggies Finalist)