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    This weblog is based on DIBUSSI TANDE's personal views on people, places, issues and events in Cameroon, Africa and the world - Citizen Journalism at its finest!

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« Unchained Voices: The "Coup Plotters" of April 6, 1984 Speak Out | Main | Book Review: Soyinka's "You Must Set Forth at Dawn" »

May 08, 2006

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Valery

In 2005 the Director of ENAM, the so-called "professional school" which trains cameroon's top-notch administrators, decided to open the doors of the school to graduates with technical/technology-based degrees from schools such as polytechnique and the ITUs. The director had realized that for the Cameroon administration to get in step with the evolving technological world, it needed a new crop of administrators steeped in the workings of the knowledge economy and who understood globalization. When the decision was made public, Prime Minister Inoni went into a fit, fired the director and insisted that only the "generalists" from the universities were fit to be administrators. The "pen pushers" as Tande calls them are back in charge...

The "vision thing" will haunt Cameroon for years to come, and the country will pay a hefty price down the road - if it isn't already...

Obang

One way to solve the globalization dilemma in higher education is to adopt the "License Professionnelle" which is increasingly becoming the norm in Europe, and which is offered on a distance learning basis to a number of universities in Cameroon.

The license professionnelle is a bachelor's degree tailored for a particular profession. And it is a combination of theory and extensive field work - holders of this professional degree don't have to be retrained for the job market because they are ready on the day of graduation. Case in point; over 90% of graduates from the University Institute of Technology in Bandjoun (focus on computer technology, networking, etc.) are employed within 6 months of graduation by companies IN CAMEROON.

The overhaul of the Cameroonian educational system is definitely long overdue...

Kwensi

It would take no less than a revolution to drag our country to the 21st century but I am afraid we lack the will and the spine to stand up and do that. The problem in Cameroon is political.Our politics have an enormous negative impact on everything in our country. Given the pervasive nature of our government (or should I say rulership) nothing can be achieved until we get rid of our current political dispensation and usher in a new one tailored to our aspirations as a nation. I don't want to sound overly negative but I haven't seen in the Cameroonian anything near the courage and focus that would be needed to get our country back to its feet (again).

Ernest

I really enjoyed reading this piece. The comparative nature of the report is an eye opener!

Rightly put Tande, the educational system in Cameroon churns out people with no desire or yearning for creativity. I have been part of the system and until when i moved away from Cameroon, all I focused on was on how to get into the civil service even though i had a masters research-based degree.

If i was to opt for anything else, it will be to shut down the professional schools or integrate programmes that are not strictly tailored to training administrators but rather to encompass sound global ideas.

Anyway, Cameroon is country where the people's voices are not listened to nor are the neocolonial admistrators opened to innovation. The case in point is that of the sacking of the director of ENAM when he tried to revolutionalized the curriculum for this ínstitution.

The future is very bleak for Africa. I wonder if the millions of Africans toting mobile phones have ever stopped to wonder how that technology was arrived at in the first place! Whiteman magic as it is often called!

Lloney Monono

There is need for an entrepreneurial culture to exist for a country
to harvest the rich fruits borne in a digital and knowledge based economy.
While in Africa Cameroon ranks high in terms of education,
the link between the academic qualifications and jobs remains elusive.
One may point fingers at a dated curriculum in dire need of an update.
But I think the real culprit is the high levels of taxation and red tape
smothering new and small businesses.

Cameroon needs to harness that virtuous circle gracing low tax economies.

Alhadji Sule

For the knowledge economy to take off in Cameroon, the country needs a huge influx of foreign investment (not AID!!!!). It has not been stressed enough that part of the reason for the Indian miracle was the huge investment that foreign firms made in the country.

However, as Lloney points out, Cameroon is one of the least investment-friendly countries in Africa. In an earlier article on this site titled "Why Cameroon is poor and corrupt', Tim Harford made the following observation:

"To set up a small business, an entrepreneur must spend on official fees nearly as much as the average Cameroonian makes in two years. To buy or sell property costs nearly a fifth of the property’s value. To get the courts to enforce an unpaid invoice takes nearly two years, costs more than a third of the invoice’s value, and requires 58 separate procedures. These ridiculous regulations are good news for the bureaucrats who enforce them. Every procedure is an opportunity to extract a bribe. The slower the standard processes, the greater the temptation to pay ‘speed money’"...

That single paragraph sums up why Microsoft, IBM, etc., will not come and set up outsourcing outfits in Cameroon; the bureaucracy is paralyzing, the corruption ant-business - in short, a hostile environment. On that score, I join the band of pessimists to state that change is not for tomorrow.

Ekiti

World Bank warns of growing knowledge gap between nations

2002-12-03 11:00 pm Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (PANA) - The World Bank warned Wednesday in a new report that developing countries are at risk of being marginalised in a highly competitive world economy unless they bridge a growing proverbial "education divide" between themselves and richer countries.

A process of continuous education creates a country's intellectual and economic foundation and its ability to acquire and use new high-tech knowledge and skills increasingly demanded by the globalising economies, the new report says.

The report, titled "Constructing Knowledge Societies: New Challenges for Tertiary Education, argues that tertiary education is key in promoting economic vitality, reducing poverty and promoting open and cohesive societies.

In a global economy, it says education can transform the progress and prospects of poor countries and boost economic growth.

"More than ever, tertiary education drives a county's future, and in today's world, it can make a difference between a dynamic economy and a marginalized one," said Jamil Salmi, the lead author and a Higher Education Specialist at the World Bank.

"To focus exclusively on basic education would effectively doom a country's efforts to secure an eventually prosperous toehold in a global economy which has little need for learning by rote or simply recycling facts."

A widening education gap between wealthy and poor countries explained why 4.8 billion people living in developing and transition economies received only 20 percent of global GDP,Salmi cited, saying that helping these countries join the global knowledge economy was essential to closing the gap between them and OECD countries.

While the state has the duty to put in place an enabling framework that encourages tertiary education institutions, the World Bank can assist its client countries in drawing on international experience and mobilising the resources needed, he said.

"As a result, tertiary education must play a key role within a country's general education agenda, even where a country may be struggling to provide its children and teenagers with a primary or secondary schooling."

It says an urgent priority is for policymakers to grasp the opportunities that tertiary education, in combination with knowledge networks and new technologies, offers for rising productivity and economic growth.

Yet policymakers will have to find solutions to a mix of old and new obstacles such as wrestling with the question of how to expand coverage and improve quality and relevance in sustainable ways that disrupted better tertiary education.

Among the new challenges cited by the report are the constantly evolving demands of the global knowledge economy, as well as the labour-market pressures on countries losing their highly trained professionals to mostly western countries.

Under the scenario, traditional universities will have to undergo significant transformations prompted by the application of new education technologies and the pressure of market forces. The Africa Virtual University and the Francophone Virtual University are important milestones in these regards, according to the report.

Governments that invest in tertiary learning and allow people to prosper with their updated skills will be amply rewarded by the global knowledge economy, said Jozef Ritzen, the vice president of the World Bank's Human Development Network, said.

"The speed of the global economy shows that governments have to continually update their education systems to make them relevant for the children and young people who will eventually work in a technology-driven marketplace," the former Dutch education minister said.

http://portal.unesco.org/education/en/ev.php-URL_ID=10811&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html

paolo  laurent

hail the misinterpreters, the blind who pretend to see

WHAT CAMEROUN ARE THEY TALKING ABOUT?
SHOW THE WORLD WHICH FRENCH EX-COLONY IN AFRICA IS DOING WELL.
THE PROBLEM WITH PEOPLE IS THAT, THEY JNKWS THE TRUTH BUT SPEAKS AND DO THEORIES\INSTEAD OF ORACTISING THE TRUTH.
THERE IS NO SUCH A THING AS CAMEROUN
THERE ARE TWO DISTINC NATIONS FALSELLY GLUED TOGETHER, FOR REASON OF POWER MONGERING AND GREED TO CALL CAMEROUN,
ANY LEVEL HEADED ANALYST WOULD TELL YOU, THAT, IF THE FRENCH CAMEROUN CONCENTRATE ONLY ON ITS OWN TERRITORY AND DEVELOP IT WHILE THE SOUTHERN CAMEROONS DOES THE SAME THEN THERE WILL BE DEVELOPMENT AS ACCOUNTABILITY WOULD SEE LIGHT

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