CERSOM is one of the few primary schools for deaf children in Cameroon. A secondary school in the French- speaking part of the country doesn’t exist. And also in the English- speaking part there is only one. Thus, young adults have to attend a school for hearing students after grade 7. Obviously, they don’t have a fair chance for good marks in the final exams. Therefore, most of the CERSOM students begin training at an early age- even if the choice for the prospected job is limited. The few schools for deaf people don’t get any financial support by the state. Quite contrary- they have to pay high taxes.
This is another barrier in the education of deaf children. Additionally, most of the teachers don’t have a special training, just the school- leaving examination.
Deaf people and in general handicapped persons don’t have an easy life in Cameroon. These children are often kept hidden in the villages out of shame. The parents are overestimated with the communication problems and give up.
Some feel ashamed of their children and don’t understand why they should effort so much money for them.
That’s why there is a big difference in age within a class. Some young adults only get the chance at the age of 23 to attend school- therefore they belong to grade 2.
There are various reasons for the loss of the ability to hear: Just a few children are born deaf. For most of them a disease like malaria, meningitis or an inflammation of the middle ear marked the beginning of their handicap. A medicaments treatment in time could have saved them.
Consequently, the percentage of deaf people in Cameroon is a lot higher than in European countries.
And of course the estimated number of unreported cases is much higher than the number of children that are already like to attend a school!