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ENS Maroua: Mediocrity versus meritocracy in Cameroon


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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