Headmaster: Paul Akeondung
Teachers: 4 total, 2 government (incl. headmaster), 2 x PTA ICA sponsored
Pupils: 156, 89 boys, 67 girls
Graduation Rate in 2014: 100%
Prior to ICA Canada’s intervention, the local school in Tchougui-Nkong consisted of a Chief’s residence. The home was the only venue in the area that provided the basic necessities. The walls were used as blackboards and the children sat on the floor. Education rates within the village of Tchougui and those surrounding it were extremely low. Aside from a lack of infrastructure, there were two big reasons why children did not attend school. First, most families in Tchougui could not afford to send all their kids. The cost of school administration fees, textbooks and uniforms were beyond the threshold of their limited budgets. Second, the school was simply too far and too inconvenient for many. The children that did attend school were often tired once they reached class and would fall asleep during the lessons. No doubt, the lack of formality further diminished the role of education in the eyes of the Tchougui community.
The construction of the new school solved many of these issues. Miss Eyong Emilia Esong explained “the new school helps kids get education because it is cheap”. School is now affordable because the textbooks and uniforms are provided. One mother adds “because of the new school, the kids are less tired when they arrive at school and they are more attentive”. The school is more centralized, meaning that the furthest any of the children have to walk is 45 minutes. Fidelis, a father of seven, agrees “because the school is closer the kids can stay after class and ask questions. They still have time to go home and work on the farm. Before, the school was too far and the kids had to leave immediately to get home to help on the farm”. Education is now accessible, affordable and an important aspect of the Tchougui community.
Possibilities for continued development
With the drastic rise in enrolment, the two Tchougui classrooms have now become overcrowded. The headmaster stated that at least two more classrooms, an office and many more benches are needed. Many other schools similar to Tchougui continue to use their old building, however the Chief’s home is no longer considered an option. The issue of affordability is still on the minds of many. Uniforms can be recycled for three years but then must be replaced. The lack of electricity is also a concern. Home economics and computer science are difficult subjects to teach without the help of teaching aids such as home appliances, computers and other electronics.
G.S Tchougui is a perfect example of a community transformed by the gift of education. Providing a new facility, textbooks and uniforms has added an element of prestige to going to school. Attendance has sky rocketed and the drop-out rate is zero. As the headmaster, Penkmenge Augustine, explained “there are no drop-outs because of the work that has been done, before there was a large drop-out [rate]”. ICA Canada continues to work with the Tchougui community.