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ENS Maroua: Mediocrity versus meritocracy in Cameroon

December 23, 2008

 

ENS Maroua: Mediocrity versus meritocracy in Cameroon

While in Cameroon, I was overwhelmed when I heard about the creation of the Advanced Teacher Training College in Maroua. I knew it would create jobs and also happy that it would spur the people of the grand north to be more interested in education.

 

I was again happy to read the result on the website of the French daily Le Jour. But, I was taken aback, when recently, I checked daily news online, and read that Members of Parliament, for the Grand Nord provinces, were not satisfied with the quota ; 33 percent according to Jacque Fame Ndongo, Higher Education Minister, and 14 percent according to them, accorded to the grand north.

 

These MPs, according to online reports, then threatened with a strike and called on the Head of State, Paul Biya to cancel the results or admit a considerable number of candidates for the grand north under what is usually called sociological composition of admitted candidates into professional schools in Cameroon.

 

 

To my astonishment, President Paul Biya, whom one of his minister recently said that he does not work under pressure, bowed to the pressure from the MPs and not only granted their wish, but, far beyond that, accorded more than the number of places they wanted, thereby giving them a percentage of 60 among the those enrolled this year in various fields.

This leaves many of us really worried. When will mediocrity give room for meritocracy in Cameroon? Is our president a coward? When did the head of state start appointing those who will get into professional schools? Was Biya doing that for the interest of Cameroon or the interest of the Grand North or even his political interest?  Has he ever asked himself about the sociological composition in the appointment of says General Managers, Governors, Ministers, and other top level government posts he makes?

 

 

Has he, who is preaching rigour and moralisation, forgotten that the said school is expected to train teachers who will thereafter train youths, Cameroon’s future?  Has he forgotten that the admission of mediocre students will have a multiplier effect on the number of mediocre Cameroonians in multiple sectors?

 

 

In 2006,   Anglo-Saxon students in the University of Buea protested against the admission of students to the medical school in that institution who did not even sit in for the written part of the examination. Yaoundé authorities asked soldiers to opened fire on unarmed students, killing two and wounding several others in 2006. Did Biya ask himself thereafter about the sociological composition of those admitted in the school as well as similar school created in the University of Douala? What future is Mr Biya and his accomplices building for Cameroon?

 

 

It really puzzles me that in virtually all professional schools in Cameroon, mediocrity and ignominy are now the benchmarks. Half baked nurses in the name of doctors are trained in CUSS and these guys end up taking a lot of souls consciously or unconsciously.  The problem may not be even with the training as such, but, with the calibre of students admitted there.Most of those admitted are not qualified.  Just as in other professional schools in Cameroon, ENAM, EMIA, POLICE, and ASMA/ESSTIC etc.

 

 

I have always said that if Biya were to rigorously fight corruption, let him give room for meritocracy. This is because, if people were to get into the public service by merit, the degree at which they take or give bribe in the course of their duties may be minimised to the highest level. The public service will then be filled with hard working and the right people who will be able to transform our country. Everything being equal, Cameroon will be “an eldorado” in the next 20 years if such measures are implemented.

 

 

Mr Biya and co, please could you guys give room for meritocracy? Where are you driving our country to? There is the urgent need to stop this thing of appointing people as students in professional colleges who do not merit it.

Unfortunately too, this is merely another manifestation of the evils of our country; appointed MPs who do not even represent the will of the people but that of the political masters, appointed governors who ruled the people with colonial fists and who are there to rig elections with all impunity, and an appointed president who is there to serve neo-colonial interest and that of a few protégés in the country.  

 

Agendia Aloysius

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Hi Agendia, Excellent article. This is one of the issues in Cameroon that has always intrigued me. This concept of 'Regional Balance' in Cameroon is like any other issue. Conceived for the right reason and executed so poorly that it ends up a complete mess. Do I agree that it is important to have all ethnic groups represented in one way or another in the different public offices in Cameroon? Of course! However this is not what happens. Can we say that all the Barondo students in CUSS of Polytech are the best brains that this ethnic gathering has to offer? Definitely not. The real people who qualify are never taken unless they are 'related' or maybe have something to offer in return. Today, I sincerely think (and I know many will disagree with me) that we need not bother ourselves anymore with Biya. Why? because sincerely what can we do to him? You oppose him and he will slaughter you like a chicken. What we should be worried about now is preparing hard for the post-Biya era. Sincerely how much time do you think this guy has to live? 5years maybe 7 tops. Is it really worth sacrificing human lives when it doesn't mean anything to him? (Remember February?). This man will die soon and the generation between 25-50 should be preparing for this really diligently. When he falls we will have a window of opportunity and if we blow it, it would take decades for us to recover and do anything meaningful again.Mark-Henry Kamga Mbahmi,Department of ChemistryEast Tennessee State University

Aloys,There are a lot of problems in Cameroon.The direction of a country is often dictated by its commander-in-chief.Biya set the tone for corruption, embezzlement,tribalism,nepotism, injustice etc, and the population is following his footprint. Biya ignores what education is capable of doing for a society like Cameroon.Opening of schools is meant to please his electorate and not predicated on boosting literacy level and social status.When the Russians launched the Sputnik in 1957, Americans blamed their own schools for not living up to expectations, and something was done. In the US, when a driver commits flagrant traffic violations, he/she is sent back to attend more driving classes.In order to curb the disturbing spread of sexually transmitted diseases in 1915,Americans turned to the school curriculum. In short, Americans have always turned to education to seek solutions on most societal problems.We all know what transpires in Cameroon.So needless to talk about what you all know.Like many others, I am ready to contribute in any way to the development of my country but I think this is not the right moment.NdemanuUSA

Very enlightening and beneficial to someone whose been out of the circuit for a long time.
- Kris

The fact that training schools in Cameroon admit students who do not deserve to be there is not the fault of the government. Cameroonians are corrupt and do not accuse the government. President Paul Biya does his best to cut down corruption. So expect him to coma and supervise entrance exams of admission files into public services? If at the community level some people do not appreciate the success of others and want others to always make the gallery and the least help you request should be payed for, how do expect them to change when they hold important positions? The whole problem stems from the bad mentality of Cameroonians no one is to blame.

No nation was born great and even the western world did not fall from heaven. the success of all this nations lied in the hand of the citizens. unless we start being focus then we will always blame other for the misfortune of others. The time for positive thinking is now

There is meritocracy in public exams in Cameroon and there are many out here who can testify that, being poor and having no support went into big schools in Cameroon through their efforts, I’m one of them. There is also the need for regional balance at a certain extent but still, just the best are being taken when considering this. There is a whole reason for regional balance, Cameroon is very diverse and made of many ethnic groups. Just take examples of Rwanda, Ivory coast and Nigeria where there were wars because of differences in considerations of ethnic groups. You will understand this better if you do not allow your emotions guide you and use common sense. President Paul Biya has got nothing to do with all this issue.



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