THEME: Cameroon Universities still in need of education that can unravel her eclipsed past, restoring her lost dignity and enable her attain economic independence.
Cameroon Universities should see the need to research, teach and award based on cultural concepts, so as to de-colonize properly her scholar from the syndrome of Western concepts of education, that have failed in the struggle for economic independence. I do agree that Cameroon cannot be an Island, but with specializations based on cultural concepts, her development can be approached from various perspectives in the total interest of full independence. Cameroon right away sees that her independence lacks one vital aspect, and that is economic independence. At this juncture, do we blame the politicians or the academicians or both?
For a nation to realize full independence, she is supposed to have an organic relationship between education and her culture which her citizens must strongly observe in the process of acquiring University education. When the organic relationship between the two phenomena isn’t respected a University becomes a mere certificate mill. In the Ministry of higher education Yaounde there is the department for equivalence, whereas the state and private awards have a lot to be look into. I have taken the pains to write this paper because of the noise – making about institutions of higher learning and their approval. Being a man who is always exasperated with status quo, because many things are found wrong, I am here tempted to ask a few questions: how is an institution of higher learning approved? What is an institution of higher learning? Let me start with the later question. An institution of higher learning is the whole body of teachers and students pursing at a particular place and time, the higher branches of learning contextualilse to cultural concepts for socio-economic and political growth.
In the first question, the approval of an institution of higher learning is when the branches of learning can embrace cultural concepts for an end result beneficial to mankind. When the branches of learning can not embrace cultural concepts for nation/world benefit be it state or private institution, it is seen as a certificate mill and a source of unemployment and underemployment that was not contextualized on cultural concepts of demand and supply. That stands the reason for our economy remaining stagnant, and the nation ever ready to consume, not bothering if there is balance of trade, thereby creating a regrettable circumstance where natural resources are drained, not caring what the destiny of our children will be.
The very little initial gains made from the education that was selfishly provided to us by colonial education, has not been able to sustain or encourage us to work in league with our cultural concepts to produce enough for ourselves and others. Thereby, putting us on our knees to proudly consume at the detriment of our economy, what others who are able to allow their education embrace their cultural concepts can produce. With little colonial education in our institutions of higher learning, we have lost everything and therefore have no educational system for ourselves and that is the shameful fate of our children. While institutions of higher learning are being created in greater numbers, even the quality of the left behind of the colonial education keeps declining. Given the intrinsic link between education and culture, the implication for our economic independence cannot be overstated. The irony in the matter is that despite the inability of our institutions of higher learning to provide what is needed for the birth of full independence, public expenditure to maintain them is alarming.
This carries me to a question I asked my friends of the teaching core during an unrealistic struggle for an examination board: “ Do we improve on the sliding standards in our institutions by building syllabuses reflecting on what our educational system can embrace from our cultural concepts or going for a political fight for the creation of an examination board?” The cart before the horse. The educational system must embrace the cultural concepts and an examination board can then came functional to test and award on syllabuses that such a system of education can provide. The board has been created and it is testing and certificating on syllabuses that do not reflect an educational system that has embrace our cultural concepts. The board therefore, stands as a certificate mill to assist the many institutions of higher learning in the nation. Colonial education that some still admire just because they have it and do not know how to go about something new, has outlived its usefulness for the struggle to arrive at economic independence. We today, need the education that will embrace our traditional concepts. The many state institution of higher learning and the private ones, are on the day of graduation, like mother, like children” “ Na de same okoro soup” taking us to no where.
I have heard much talk about Anglophone and Francophone systems of education in Cameroon. The point crystal clear here is whether any of them is even a system. On what cultural heritage are they based? Research has revealed that colonialism swallowed all our traditional values for greedy reason. That is to say, what we were allowed to have was not rooted from even their own cultural concepts. Thy provided some shallow knowledge that enabled us to work with them in their exploitation exercise and is not sufficient for our economic independence. Today that we desperately need our economic independence, our institutions of higher learning can not continue to sing “Anglophone and Francophone”, with little or no consideration to programs that can build the nation to be factually independent. I some times worked in a country where serious matters needing serious decisions were minute in Hausa or Arabic. The strangers who could not understand the two languages were usually hands off such decisions and that made them not to interfere in internal matters. This bilingualism of Cameroon is for what and what is it going to provide for our economic independence? When our higher institutions of learning remain unable to design programs that embrace our cultural concept, I strongly wander if there is a vision on how we can one day be free from the yoke tele-guided by the former colonial masters. “PEOPLE WITHOUT A VISION ARE BOUND TO PERISH” This vision is to be found no where else but in our institutions of higher learning.
So many Cameroonians went to the white man’s land for studies. They did not acquire the education that embraced our cultural concepts. Back home, they are unable to evolve the nation’s economy for full independence. Today, we find so many graduation grounds full and young Cameroonians being certificated. The question stands: “with our educational system still not based on our cultural concepts, are our institutions of higher learning not just certificate mills to grin out more unemployed and underemployed citizens?” To avoid that, we need institutions of higher learning with educational programs that after graduation; positions in need should have without tease. We need institutions that can research, teach and award certificates to Cameroonians who will enter the field and evolve, leading the nation to forge ahead for full independence.
Another point stands out crystal clear that when our institutions will be able to contextualize their programs to our cultural concepts, they shall be left free in their faculties to produce the needed expertise. The question of a Ministry of Higher Education where the government is spending a lot of money will no longer be seen necessary. For now that our institutions of higher learning are under the Ministry of Higher Education, they remain certificate mills that have no impact on development aspirations. Therefore, our struggle for total independence will continue to be a dream- garbage in and garbage out in the name of University Graduates. You can not blame them!