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Monday, 09 October 2006

Comments

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Kappa

The problem is endermic in Cameroonian Universities.I know of lecturers who have been teaching for over 10 years without a single publication!!!!

Nicolas Y F

The aspect of UB lectures to publish is a good idea and there are many who really wants to be real scholars. But its stupid for UB to force lecturers to publish when there is no allocated budget for research. According to Dr. Ngoh the infrastructure are in place, but can you use lecture halls to publish....If the administrature needs their lecturers to publish, they most provide a star-up funding to their lecturers, which will be a start to their career and this will linked them to external funding. There most be a starting point and it has to start from UB. External bodies need to see what UB is doing concerning research before they can fund big research. Thus the government of Cameroon, should help UB lecturers and their grad students to publish and not sending threats to them. I'm presently studying abroad because I could not find funding for my graduate studies in UB. UB, no funding no publication.....My advice is that an internal research funding board be created where lecturers write short proposal for internal review and funding, this will stimulate them to external funding.

rexon

UB should define its priorities whether it is a research or teaching led institution.

In my humble opinion, UB is more of a teaching institution without substantial investments that can propel scholarly research. For example, in research led institutions, academics are not provided with large teaching hours, they teach less than 7 hours a week and this gives them considerable amount of time to conduct their research. More soo, scholarly research needs other inputs. For example, academics needs to be exposed to international conferences, symposiums and seminars where they can be exposed to leading academics in their area, get in touch with recent working papers, present their research to other scholars from diverse academic backgrounds for an appraisal, etc.

Another problem that will be very pertinent and might not propel scholarly research in UB is the level of corruption in La Republique. Nobody, i mean no rightminded peer review journal can believe in any data from La Republique. Where are the records kept and how can we rely on them? If in developed countries like the United States, researchers have to deal with substantial issues relating to data reliabily, how can we rely on data from La Republique. Even if grounded theory techniques are used for data collection, how can we still rely on the data in a state at war like La Republique? How can we be sure that the results are not biased for fear of different issues like political persecution, etc.

Additionally, what are the publications of those who call themselves professors in La Republique? How many peer reviewed and scholarly journals have they published in?

UB also has additionally problems that we are all aware of. For example, the guy there called Ngoh who is the registrar has gain notoriety from his sex-for-marks operations in UB. Who promoted him to that position of a registrar and sent him closer to our innocent children?

Tekum Mbeng

Corn does not grow on barren land. The more useful publications result from research. Research needs funds and takes time. There is a generation in Cameroon that must pass before the country can see the light.

Let us hope that the authorities at UB are financing the research in the presence of corruption and absence of a vibrant private sector.

Research and publications in Developed Countries are financed by companies, foundations and by the Government. Money allocated is actually used as intended.

Maybe, UB authorities want their staff to publish in Cameroon Tribune aka "fib'une". That is not difficult. Every staff member should be able to fib on that tabloid - a sterile exercise in vanity.

On a more serious note, Government practicies (contrary to written policy statements) towards oversea sponsored research in Cameroon are outrageously corrupt. For example, consider that Foundation A in New York grants $20,000 (10 million FCFA) to a Botany professor at UB, towards research in the domestication of cerain ornamental plants extracted from the rain forest.

When the $20,000 funds arrive the ministry in Yaounde, officials in that ministry will keep 70% of the grant for themselves. This is THEFT by the ministry. You have to talk to research-oriented Cameroonians in research institutes to understand the scale of the problem.

In our example, the research professor at UB only gets a tiny $6,000 (if he/she is lucky) which is hardly sufficient to cover field work, correspondence and travel to conferences. These structural problems are a major impediment to overseas-assisted research in Cameroon.

Muki StoneHall

Good work guys!
These are exceptionally mature and well-educating comments.The UB authorities,just like the Cameroon Gov't know the problems.They also know how to get the solutions but they deliberately do not want to match solutions to problems.
As mentioned above,publications do not just materialise from thin air.They are not conjured.Rather,publications are the end-points of intensive and meaningful research.Research goes with funding.Funding moves with honesty,transparency and accountability.These are values which are very foreign in Cameroon where corruption has been legalised and personal interests overide national interests.As Tekum Mbeng rightly said,any external funding that reaches Y'de rapidly breaks down into percentages.
The UB authorities should also take cognisance of the fact that the University environment is purely an academic one and should therefore not be politicised or tribalised.Promotions and other benefits should not be a function(mathematically speaking)of political orientations or tribal origins.Lecturers and researches should be allowed to release their imaginations and think and act freely.They should not be constrained on their thoughts and action.
If UB authorities,truely want their science lectures(for example)to publish,they should atleast put in place one Research Laboratory for any science Discipline.The Physics lab in UB,for example is not up to a Western standards high school lab.How do they expect Dr Nkemzi and Mborong to publish?

Ashwell Molaba

Fortunately or unfortunately the University of Buea remains a glorified High School. One does not need to go far from Cameroon to realise this. But those who have taken refuge in UB continue to deceive poor students with "BIG" words like publications etc. We were lied to and it is high time some one told the truth.

I think all has been said about research and publication by the other commentators. My point is simple; those who remain in UB are those who toe the government line. Francis Nyamnjoh has written extensively about his experience in that place. What do we expect from these people? They have been speaking about a medical school since UB came into existence. They have been telling people UB is the best university in the world. They are bringing people from the corporate world to lecture at UB. What corporates are we talking about in Cameroon? They contradict themselves by talking about large lecture halls that can sit a thousand students, while asking lecturers to publish. They can't see the irony in such stupid comments. Are they fit to lecture in a high school in Europe or America? You go figure. They have sold their souls to the devil; and this research publication story is just a manifestation of the disease that is UB.

eyallow

To publish an article, needs time, dedication and alot of financial support. Poor UB lecturers i wonder how they copy with the miminal infrastructure and technology available. A polymerase chain reaction machine which is the base of any molecular biology laboratory is a dream at UB. I knew of one at Titanji's lab. Good modern microscopes are absent but for i think one fluorescent microscope in Titanji's lab as well. DNA sequencing tecnology is non-existent, a strong hold in biological science research today!

If they are demanding UB lecturers to contribute to scientific, technological development through publications, then the authorities must provide the befitting commensurate research facilities. A national research council fond for funding outstanding research projects must be instituted.

Multi-national companies such as those producing babana, rubber, petroleum exploitation that release hazardous products into the environment must be drafted to sponsor researchers especially in areas of bioremediation. If such schemes are exploited, academics will be able to sponsor their research and will create a standard comparable to that of the west. Competition will be ushered in as well as researchers get funding based on their exhibited competence in their particular fields.

It should be observed that lecturers might be forced to fabricate data for publication in other to retain their jobs based on the forced publishing attitude that now prevails at UB. I have never encountered this anywhere in the world where academics are forced to publish papers or lose their jobs. There are 3 kinds of Academics: Those that are interested in research only, those that are recruited to teach the ideas that thier collegues are researching and publishing on and those that research and teach at the same time!

To avoid the publication of fabricated data, what should apply is that promotion and financial compensation should be based on a meritorous system that takes in account the number of papers published and the quality of the journal in which such papers were published in!

rexon

Eyallow,

Your comments are customarily educative but this one comment seems outlandish and has caught my imagination:

"I have never encountered this anywhere in the world where academics are forced to publish papers or lose their jobs"

This is a common practice in the United States and the UK especially in research led institutions and is habitually specified in the academic contracts of Lecturers and sometimes PhD students. If not, why the pressure to publish? My recollection from talking to academics of Stockholm School of Economics also suggests that there is a kind of contractual obligation for them to publish in scholarly journals. Just this morning in one of our usual seminars, a colleague of mine who is still a doctoral student has been told that he need to have a paper submitted as part of his contractual obligations in march next year in a scholarly journal. In some foremost Universities even doctoral students are required to publish from their doctoral thesis or at least have some papers accepted before they are being offered their full PhD. At the beginning of my doctoral program, I was frankly told that it is a moral obligation that I develop at least three with potential to be published in peer-reviewed journals from my doctoral thesis.

Nonetheless, you have technically answered your queries in your description of the three different types of academics. In Finance and Accounting, most of the Teaching in research led institutions like mine is done by junior colleagues mostly MSc holders and Chartered accounts who are not customarily included in the RAE (Research Assessment Exercise). This gives considerable time for doctoral holders who are routinely obliged to publish. In the US, I guess the tenure track employment contract manages such issues.

To conclude, in research led institutions, academics (as specified in their contracts) must publish or loose their jobs. Thus if UB think it is a research led institution, they should provide the necessary incentives for publications as listed by different authors above. The question of whether they have fabricated their data or have provided quality publications will depend on the standard of the journal they are interested in publishing in. In Stanford, Harvard, MIT, UCLA, PRINCETON, YALE, for example, Finance and accounting lecturers must publish their work in realistic scholarly journals like the Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial economics, Journal of Business, Journal of accounting and economics, journal of Banking and finance, American Accounting review, journal of empirical finance and some other few or loose their jobs. These journals sometimes ask for your raw data and the results. I habitually employ regression techniques and other statistical methods and I am always asked to present my raw data by co-authors and reviewers.

Sadly, in UB, publications are limited to singing the CPDM song and writing praises in tabloids in Mr Biya’s corrupt junta. A friend of mine working in UB recently wanted to link me to what he described as something of the kind of a UB handbook. To them, that was a scholarly journal.

UB has many problems; they should not try to be a heaven in Hell (La Republique).

tayong

Eyallow, Tekum Mbeng and Rexon

Gentlemen in as much as I agree with you all that UB authorities and the powers that be need to provide adequate infrastructure for solid academic research, I may disagree that all has to do with just that.

To publish needs first and foremost the determination to do research, then the infrastructure comes in second. There're a few Labs in Cameroon expecially in the life sciences where a lecturer can carry out his research at minimun cost. I wont name names for undue publicity sake. Im not of that department but have a few colleagues doing that.

Then in Cameroon you guys know as much as I do there's this cankerworm of politicallly achieved professorial titles. A man like Dr Ndiva Mbua (SDF)with many books published so far can't dream of changing his status one day but an Agbor Tabi(CPDM)can become professor Emeritus just after a polit-Bureau meeting.

So if one can easily become such, why then bother to do research if the going is that easy, simply join the gang and become prof.
So in a nutshell what I'm saying is this: there's much than catches the eye as to why some lecturers dont publish.

Tayong

Vally Bessong

Sometimes I think Cameroonian leaders of today are not living in this present world. Why should we always put our energy, time, and money in areas where we don't have a comparative advantage. Why can't we copy what the emerging economies of the world are doing? Research in itself doesn't end after publication. It has to be sold. That's why in Developed countries, research is mostly sponsored by companies who inturn will commercialise the product of the research. So looking at it from this perspective, how is our research done in UB going to compete with research carried out in Developed countries?
Even in Developed countries, if you go to an average University, not upto 10% of the Professors and or lecturers are involved in Research. Most of them are teaching the application of the Research done. Which is what UB should focus its money, time, and energy on. UB should shift from its current philosophy to that of APPLIED SCIENCES, because what Cameroon needs now is not Research but applying the research already done by Western countries and others.
I never studied in UB but from what I have been reading about UB, I have never heard anything mention about Consulting. If UB Administrators have got money to spend, they should instead open a Consultancy Office in UB, where lecturers from different departments sit together and carry out projects together with their students, and try to sell it to investors. For example, bring lecturers form the Chemistry and Business studies department, to carry out a project on producing and marketing Fertilizer, (NOT RESEARCHING ABOUT FERTILIZER) which they will present to any potential investor. Such projects can be carry out in so many areas which will benefit not only UB, but also the economy of the country, students, and above all the Entrepreneurial community. There is a huge market around us but we can't see. Look in the CEMAC region or whatever they call it now, there is absolutely no producer, all are consuming countries. UB administrators, shift your education to teaching students how to be productive when they graduate and stop all this 'researching story'.
If you care sit there and be 'researching' while others are already producing and capturing markets all over the world. In other words, others are making money and improving the livelihood of their countries, while you sit and continue your 'research' and dying of 'poverty'.

God help my Beloved Country.

rexon

Vally Bessong,

Your philosophies are somehow right, but your solution seems wrong.

Your quote;

"Why should we always put our energy, time, and money in areas where we don't have a comparative advantage. Why can't we copy what the emerging economies of the world are doing?"

The emerging economies are undertaking research. They are developing strategies and skills to compete with the western world in the near future. In finance, for example, they are developing their own stock markets, creating database to store appropriate data's for scholarly research and publishing in journals like emerging markets review where they have a comparative advantage.

Most Ghanaian/Nigerian finance academics work on their country's data and other emerging markets where they seemingly have a comparative advantage. You would not expect a UK based professor for example to be succesful in Malaria or aids research without working with a colleague from a developing country like Cameroon where such illnesses are rampant. I think what you should suggest should be of the line of encouraging UB to provide the necessary infrastructures that can propel scholarly research. The problem then is the junta of Mr Biya that has been managing UB. Its ministers will spend all his time discussing kickbacks from different illegal projects rather than research and teaching as we are now focused on. Maybe, our self-professed government adviser in this forum can help us out.

Secondly, your discussion relating to the marketing and consultancy services are not very appealing. How can you sell as an academic institution what is not new? If you want to sell what someone else has already produced, then you will be selling as a discount as you will be selling for the author. If UB can sell what it is producing, then as a first generation investor and producer, it will recoup substantial profits and the expense of future investors. Thus, if UB can develop a vaccine for AIDS, before others, then they will be better off.

Vally Bessong

My Dear Friend Rexon,

From your writings, you are really the 'THEORY' 'THEORY' 'THEORY' type of guy.
I won't want to go into debate here with you because I don't have that time. You wrote:
'The emerging economies are undertaking research. They are developing strategies and skills to compete with the western world in the near future. In finance, for example, they are developing their own stock markets, creating database to store appropriate data's for scholarly research and publishing in journals like emerging markets review where they have a comparative advantage.'
If you call what you wrote RESEARCH then I wish you all the Best in your 'RESEARCH.'

You are so contradictory, I don't even know where to start. Again I will quote you: 'Secondly, your discussion relating to the marketing and consultancy services are not very appealing. How can you sell as an academic institution what is not new? If you want to sell what someone else has already produced, then you will be selling as a discount as you will be selling for the author. If UB can sell what it is producing, then as a first generation investor and producer, it will recoup substantial profits and the expense of future investors. Thus, if UB can develop a vaccine for AIDS, before others, then they will be better off.'

Rexon are you really doing Business studies? I will just ask you to go into your local supermarket and come and tell me how many different types/marks of toothpaste are there on the shelves. Are all the tothpaste from the same producer or did all the producers started making toothpaste on the same day? Let me tell you, my friend, you can start your own toothpaste making company today and maybe even be the market leader tomorrow in terms of be it Return on Equity, Assets, etc.
Rexon, I wish I had the time to write more but I will tell you this as a Business professional: Some go for PhDs because it's easier to have (they earn less salaries) while the brave ones are in the industry taking the challange head on (they earn more salary) and above all providing humankind with what it needs for survival and existence.

Cheers.

rexon

Vally,

What i was trying to say is that we can do research were we have a comparative advantage (for example in Malaria research) and ignore the others. We cannot for example crave to develop the best fighter jet, but we can at least invest the little we have on developing say malaria vaccine. Hope my little idea helps.

I dont have the time for this topic. I have contributed more than i had wished. I hope

rexon

Vally,

This is an internet site and i cannot judge u on picking one sentence and focusing on it and calling it a contradiction. I will share some light with you on how the CRSP, COMPUSTAT Database where developed by US researchers. Previously, they used to handcollect this data. When the university of Chicago through eugene Fama started collecting and comiling this data online, scholarly research in the area was facilitated. Why do you pick my description of the importance of database development and ignore the other paragraph where i wrote about ghanaian professors. I was mainly informing you that they were able to conduct research in their own markets because they had previously develop the appropriate databases. That in itself is research. The London Share price databases also was developed by academics in London business school. That in itself is research.

Francis Nche

I have gone through the great theoretical contributions but have noticed that most of the contributor draw conclusions from one single view so I will try to sow an insider view.
Sadly in any University in the world, there is a "Publish or Perish" Policy. To be able to publish in Cameroon like elsewhere on earth, researchers must collaborate and sometimes go for research visits or work with collaborators working in the same feild in more specialized labs elsewhere. Professors and Lecturers who are active and productive in their research domains such Prof Tianji, Prof. Effange, Dr. Wanji, Dr. Akenji etc, apply and receive research Grants from Funding bodies at home or abroad. It is a common practice even in US and Europe that a percentage of the grants go o the Univrsity coffers. It is a reality that research in Cameroon Universities and Research Centres are underfunded and the research projects either misdirected or poorly conceived but the reality is more than that. If the DVC/Research is honest the way he runs the annual research Budget, he will publish the annual report on how the budget for UB from the government is spent.. Most of you will be shocked to see the amount allocated for research which is somehow misappropriated. The embarrassing situation is that even the so called Deputy Vic Chancellor in Charge of Research (Dr. Herbert Endeley) is himself not doing research and therefore not publishing. How can such an individual terminate a no-tenure Assistant Lecturer on the grounds of lack of publications. Asked Lecturers what they get per year as research grant for UB. Depending on their grade, they get from 500, 000 to 5 million and yet nobody ever give a report at the end of the year on the last year budget to get the new one which is somehow automatic. Unfortunately even salaries in Cameroon are always a secrete as the research grant but this money is usually channelled towards buying cars instead of investing on research since Publish or Perish policy cannot be implemented because even those suppose to apply the law themselves are not publishing. So this is a win-win situation. Lecturer get free money and job stability while the authorities use the budget unaccountable for but the loser is the University and the Cameroonian people.
Those thinking that Professorship in Cameroon is all political appointments should re-think their position. If that was the case Dr. Njeuma, Dr. Endeley etc would have been professors. There is a clear guidelines with a specific scholarly achievements to change grades in Cameroon and become Professor. Political wrangling are limited to obtaining the Administrative and Pedagogic Recommenations which the Univrsity has to issue to the candidates. In that situation like elsewhere in the world, the candidate should have had a sound judgement to have been operating within the institutional guidelines. UB like other Universities has a taff handbook which workers have to respect the rules and regulations. This is not typical in UB. In US for instance, even if you have the necessary publications, you can be refused tenure for other reasons. I Germany for Instance, publications alone cannot make a Professor since a Professor must be taken in only when there is a vacancy like dead or resignation because a Professor must be a chair or head of Department. Like PhD is the terminal degree recognised worldwide, Professorship is the terminal academic honour recognised equally worldwide. A professor in UB is received in an academic honour in a conference a Professor from Harvard
People like Dr. Agbor Tabi and Associate Professors like Mendo Nze, Messi Jean, Kountchou Komeini etc who address themselves in the media as professors are no de facto professors because they are not recognized as Professors by the University. This is why such individuals shy away from returning to Classrooms even when they are removed from their public posts. They prefer to hang out elsewhere rather than take back their professional role as educators in the society
Most of the Professors teaching in Cameroon State Universities, studied and some even worked in the West ad Most are still visiting Professors in Universities abroad, so avoid exposing yourself because you have seen a PCR machine for the first time.
The System in Cameroon is because of the Lack of transparency in management, misguided purities and the nasty mentality that ruins the system. Any system is adapted to its culture. UB Lecturers who work from 9 am to 3..30 pm cannot expect to be as productive as their western counterpart who virtually have no other life than academics working from 9 am to 5 pm from Monday to Fridays.

ftroit

My whole thing is, most of these lecturers (e.g. Ngoh) have studied outside of Cameroon (... even in Nigeria). They've all seen these things; they know it requires a lot resources, (finance and equipment), yet while they're in the system they act all ignorant. I hope they do read and learn from the commentaries made on this site. One's got to learn from countries such as India (oh well, they're really too advanced), or Malaysia or even Cuba.

tayong

Mr Vally Besong
You seem to have read my mind somehow. I have said before that it needs more than infrastructure to carry out research and publish. Gentelmen, in the academia you either publish or perish period. When a lecturer is researchful you'll know from the quality of students he produces. The offspring of a lion doesnt eat grass they say.

1) What is research, publishing and engineering? Isn't it in simple terms finding out solutions to problems , resolving them, making innovations and forcasting what if, what if not, etc?

2)What will it take for a lecturer in the life sciences to carry out research on the link between TB and AIDS? A friend left Europe without any equipment, came and did this in Cameroon ,used equipment from Cameroon, came back and won a huge research grant.

2)How many Chemistry lectuerers in UB have been to SONARA complex for themselves? Talk less of organising a field trip there with their students?Yet SONARA has thousands of nerve breaking problems to be researched with funds available to do that.

2) CIMENCAM is just a stone throw from Buea and has enormous problems with their combustion equipments. They ordered researchers from abroad just to analyse problems with low NOx production, a thing Chemistry researchful lecturer can pick up as a reseacrh topic , how many of them care?

3)PECTIN with 80% shell shares had been looking for someone to carry out research on their newly acquired oil fields, whom of these lecturers read research posting journals?

4) How many life sciences lecturers have taken their students to hospitals, clinics, medical centers, dispensaries etc before they finally graduate from UB?

........................etc etc etc etc.

It's something warranting a total mentality change from teaching theory, to applying theory and living big without which by this time next century the VC might still be asking for his lecturers to publish or perish

Tayong

Tekum Mbeng

Eyallow:

I lectured in the UK in the early eighties and there was no requirement to "publish or be sacked". There is no such mandatory requirement in U.S. Universities either.

Nevertheless, staff eagerly carry out research and publish to enhance their academic standing and that of the department and university. There are also financial and travel incentives that reward researchers directly.

Some research work ends up as patents which are intellectual property owned by the universities and can be licensed for a fee to the private sector. I know no lecturer who has been fired for not publishing.

I however, have read about lecturers getting fired for taking advantage of their female students. A romantic relationship between lecturer and student in an American college is a sure way to get fired. There is ZERO tolerance from the academic community and from the Alma Matter against romantic liaisons between teacher and student.

The academic interests of UB are best served by developing closer ties to Anglosaxon Universities in the South (Southern Africa, West Africa, India, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan). These societies have mature Anglosaxon publication institutions.

Now, that is where the mother of all problems will start. Would the Francophone political masters of Cameroun accept and enable anglo-oriented progress at UB?

Francis Nche

Tekum Mbeng,
Avoid exposng yourself as a liar in public forum. Any one who has lectured in any University in the world as you claim knows that the only guaranty of keeping your position, progress, make a career and getting tenure is through publictions. Therefore a publication is a life insurance in academia. You definitely has never even attended a Univesity in the US not to talk of lecture or else you would have known that all starting position in the Universites (Assistant Professors) are tenured tract positions and after 5 years either you are tenured or sacked.
Even in Cameroon in principles, an asistant lecturer is in a teure-tract postion whose contract could be terminated after 5 years. Some years back Njeuma applied the rule in UB most of the victims were absorbed by the University of Douala afterwards. The downside about Cameroon is that this law was drawn up during the early days of the UNIYAO when the University was autonomous and Lecturer were under the University but since 1993 the University Lecturers are Civil servants. In this way, even if they are sacked from the University, they will simply go to the reserve department of the Minisitry of Higher Education and will continue to reciev their salaries and all the endemnities of their Civil statue index. From there, they will eventually be posted to another University if need be.
Mr. Tekum Meng, before introducing another lie in this forum in future know that people reading this forum, are of all specialites and very informed to be decieved by a lie. I still repeat what I earlier said that being in American, you shoud fight hard not to fall into American syndrome in which people are so less informed hat can even be mislead be a lie.
I congratulate you for other powerful contributions that you sometimes chip-in in ths forum.

vally England

Francis Nche,
Thanks to your response to Takum Mbeng i was just about responding to him when i saw your response.
What are we talking of research in UB?Even though in the early years of that university some stipend was being paid for research,what was it worth?What cold you do with between 75000-150000frs as research grant monthly?the guys in cameroon are dreaming.Ngoh is probably out of his senses,does UB actually get the quality of lecturer needed during recruitment advert?i wounder.
That place UB is a glorified high school,books to develop lecture quality is wanting,modern teaching slide system is a dream,lecturers assess to internet for information is history,basic communication tools like phone/fax in offices they can afford,so why all the hype on research?you want people to research with their hands and empty papers,give us our break.
If you want people to research equip and provide modern facilities to back the research.Provide facilities to modern research tools,then justify the end product of the research.How such researches will change the uniiversity and lecturers life.
I have told friends who can listen,if you want to developed quit UB.If you stay there you only experience regression,by the time you 50 you are useless, and can pick any quality job out of cameroon.
Good lecturers don't give a damm,why earned 350.000frs cfa when you can earn 2.500.000frs cfa else where?Stop deceving yorselves,you are working while Biya and his gangs are enjoying.
This issue of serving your country is crab.You only get appointed wheen you speak their language(join cpdm).

Vally
England.

tayong

Mr Tekum
Without going into the polemics of what obtains in the UK and what obtains in America , you'll agree with me that one of the first things your PHD supervisor told you was "publish or perish" . Whether "perish" can now be interpreted as"Quit" is another issue.

You know as much as I do that lecturers pride themselevs on the number of articles they've published, the number of presentations they've made at International Conferences, the number of PHD students they've sent out being their supervisors, etc

Gentleman you keep on talking of incentives, we all agree alot needs to be dome to boost research but that's not an excuse for handfolding waiting for manner from where there aren't any angels. Here in the West lecturers use what they have to get what they want. That's what's normally referred to as "research where there's no research" in their lingua franca.

A lecturer brainstorms into some emerging technology or problem or whatever, present his findings to the business men or research organisation or NGO , if the idea is laudable , huhhh... he hits the jackpot.That's the secret out here.

Man a research minded lecturer can carry out effective research even in Ethiopia or Somali believe me.

Tayong

Tekum Mbeng

Francis Nche,

Before getting into intellectual discussions, I advise you to polish up on English language grammar and spellings in order to communicate clearly with peers. You have not understood the nuances in my mail above. It is not only black or white, many shades of gray are involved.

Research publications and teaching are complementary to a university’s standing. Some staff members are better at locating funds for research, others are better at undertaking research and others still are better at focusing their minds at teaching students. Only few staff members can succeed at both tasks simultaneously early in their careers. Usually, older professors with decades of teaching experience can to devote more time towards research and advising postgraduate research students without sacrificing their scores in teaching technique.

Normally, no one can have their time twice. Western universities that I know value both teaching and research standing, neither of which is taken for granted. A lecturer who scores low at teaching evaluations but has lucrative research contracts to the school is doing well. A lecturer who scores highly in teaching evaluations than in research is also doing well. A lecturer with neither lucrative research contracts nor high marks in teaching evaluations will soon have no course to teach.

A good analogy to a Cameroonian is soccer. We play soccer to score goals. However, the goal-keeper, backs and midfield players help the team and generally rely on their strikers to hit home. There is no contractual ultimatum on players to ”score or be fired” in as much as there is no ultimatum on the goal keeper to stop all strikes. In practice, goals scored (or strikes stopped by goal keeper) are worthy credits that define the standing of a player. Good clubs provide attractive incentives.

My contracts have never stipulated that I publish, file patents or be fired. Publications add to my professional standing but my employer places a greater emphasis on teaching courses to excite and ignite the curiosity of students. There are huge incentives to lucrative researchers. Nevertheless, any research that does not bring cash to the university is worthless.

To Tayong,

No, my supervisor wanted me to meet (i) the research requirements of my industrial sponsor - test reports, comparative analyses and oral presentations and (b) the time table for a PhD program as stipulated by the University. In preparing to defend my thesis, we agreed to publish two papers on clearly defined studies. One was successfully published and the other was turned down because another team had a more detailed paper on the same subject.

This idea of writing an ultimatum in the contracts of teaching staff to "publish or be fired" is strange. Even profit-motivated corporations in the West do not go this far at their research centers. No one can legislate creativity.

Tekum Mbeng

An Open Suggestion to Prof Lambi and UB Admin
====================================
Consider instituting a course evaluation scheme in which the students score different aspects of a course on a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (best). That is a common practice in Anglo-Saxon universities. The results for the past year should be displayed in locked glass notice boards in admin offices for all to see.

The scoring criteria in a course may include:-

(a) Lecturer articulation and clarity of speech.
(b) Clarity of lecture notes
(c) Appropriateness of tutorials in complementing lectures
(d) Punctuality to classes
(e) Teaching technique
(f) Student’s understanding of course
(g) Professional or ethical relationship with students.

This is a powerful tool to raise the bar in academic scholarship and ethics. Usually, some teachers are better at research than in giving lectures and vice versa.

Nevertheless, historic scores by staff provide internal reward and recognition in a competitive academic environment. A teaching staff that subjects itself to student review learns the areas where more effort should be applied to improve performance.

There is also a mighty correlation between high achievers, based on student ratings, in the teaching staff and those who eventually become department heads and professors.

The students at UB should ultimately be able to rate their staff on a basis that assist lecture development and provides recognition for scholarship in teaching.

Tekum Mbeng

Francis Nche and Vally of England, improve your scholarship in English language grammar and spellings on this medium or go back to secondary school.

You cannot continue to employ such inept grammar to debate scholarship at the University of Buea. UB can be a "glorified high school" as Vally pours scorn on it or gradually developed into an outstanding academy of learning and scholarship.

I challenge both of you, demonstrably overseas, to deeply understand the rational behind policies to avoid commenting superficially. It also takes hard work and scholarship to see below the surface.

Francis Nche

Mr Tekum Mbeng,
Once more you've exposed your ignorant. Teacher's evaluation in UB has been applied since the time of Njeuma and it is now with Lambi. Like elswhere in the world, teachers evaluation is done by students in anonymous manner and the results are channeled confidentilly to the leturer concerned by the DVC/Teaching (Dr Nalova) through the Directorof Acadeic affairs (Dr. Gideon Ngwa). A record is kept also at the Vice Deans/ Teaching. Only on cases of gross anormality that the lecturer concerned is convocked for counselling by the Pedagogic and ethic committee.
Results of teachers evaluation is the internal records of the University and made availabe for the Lecturers so that they can work to ameoleorate their teaching methods.
If you were really a pedagoque as you claim, you will know that if a name of a lecturer is published in the notice board as the worst teacher, not only will he lost his role as an eductor, an authority and as an expert in the eyes of his students, learning of the suject matter by the students will also be impaired.
Since you have study and know English more than Queen Elizabeth or Tony Blair, I am sure you will leave a more academic legacy than Socrates, Plato and Arstotle combined.

tayong

Mr Tekum
Tekum, honestly Im still scattering my hair over your formidable aurgument in favour of lectuers not publishing. The unorthodox tone employed by the UB authorities is unarguably uncalled for but hacking on that to bail the cats(my due respect to UB lecturers of course) is really daunting Tekum.

Whether a lecturer is teacher oriented or research oriented ,without publishing amounts to him being a tutor not a lecturer, you know this well Tekum. I gave a few examples of research opportunities even in Cameroon grapped by foreign colleagues before the very nose of UB lecturers.

For an institution like UB to gain international recognition is not just by coercing with Anglo-saxon universities but lecturers from this university must prove their worth outside, that's why I put a red feather on the hat of Prof Titanji and Prof Chumbow .You can read thier works even here in Europe.

Tekum believe me, there isn't enough excuse for UB lecturers not publishing. Of course we all know the junta regime makes things pretty difficult for them but where there's a will there's a way. By the way some are publishing and are feeding fat from it while others continue to sniff in the mire of chalk and blackboard.

Tayong

Tekum Mbeng

Francis Nche,

I am glad you have raised your language standard a bit but mind your spellings. Please keep it up and aspire to go beyond Tony Blair and reach the stars.

I did not study at UB and had no idea there is already a teacher evaluation scheme in place. That scheme as you explained, assuming you are correct, may have some defects. It does not have to be secretive. It should aim to get feedback from all students and the results should be published across all courses.

Francis, incompetence flourishes where there is secrecy and contrived competition. Course scores in a public institution are public information. It would be a jungle mentality to consider such information as secret or confidential. If the confidentiality argument is upheld for reason stated, i.e. teacher’s image vis-à-vis his/her students, then the Head of State shall never loose an election – the ultimate public disproval!

I challenge Francis Nche (aka Vally of England) to open his eyes and see how freedom of information is a catalyst behind healthy competition and advancement in England and elsewhere. Secrecy and under-development go hand in hand.

To Tayong.
You mis-read my mail. I am for research and above all a university is about good teaching, learning and ethics. I argue that it is wrong to subject staff to an unnecessary ultimatum of “publish or get fired”. Creativity is nurtured and not legislated.

rexon

Tekum,

There are different standards of Universities and different quality of even PhD's. In foremost Universities like Stanford, Harvard, London Business School, etc. It is either you publish or you go. In the US, the tenure track contracts handles such issues. In the UK, you will be oblidged to sign a teaching contract if you cannot publish u will be sacked.The teaching contract technically does not oblidges you to publish but it is a less prestigious contract.

It is strange you are claiming to have lectured in the UK and did not find any contractual obligation to publish even in the US where u are based. Were u involved in actual lectureship in a standard UK university or was merely tutoring in a kind of a college?

Without mincing words, i will use the case of a US academic (Bange) who loose her job because she had not published sufficient papers before the end of her tenure track position. She published a seminal paper on the relationship between research and development expenditures and earnings management. Even today, she is still actively involved in reseach in this area. Bange was supervised by the renowned Werner De Bondt (Now heading the Driehus centre for behavioral finance at DePaul University) when she was a doctoral student at the University of Wisconsin Madison. She succesfully published in the journal of corporate finance and had other papers in less quality journals. But she was sacked by her employers (at wisconsin i guess) for not meeting the standards of her university. Wisconsin as you know is not of the standard of Harvard or Stanford. She finally found herself in one of the colleges in the United States. She is still publishing but cannot secure a realistic contract in foremost research led institutions in the United States. Hope this example helps.

rexon

Tekum,

To add more, one of my co-authors have a contract now with Loughborough Business School here in the UK to publish in specified US journal or be sacked. It is not just about publishing nowadays, but publishing scholarly articles in foremost journals. Universities now in the UK are busy recruiting researchers who have actively published and refusing to renew those at the end of their contracts who have not published. This is because the next Research Assessment Exercise is in 2008. The sacking here is that at the end of your tenure track position in the US or your three year temporary contract offer in the UK, you will be told that your contract will not be renewed because you have not published in scholarly journals. A friend of mine is waiting for the sack because he has not published in scholarly journals even though he have some papers. At the best, he might be told to sign a teaching contract.

Tekum Mbeng

Rexon writes: “In foremost Universities like Stanford, Harvard, London Business School, etc., it is either you publish or you go”.

Stanford and Harvard have no such ultimatum in academic employment contracts. These schools motivate publications and their staff undertake externally sponsored research, teach and publish.

Publications define the scholarship of an individual and are attractive to a U.S. university to the extent that they can attract lucrative contracts, research grants, fee-paying research students, licensable patents and the occasional favorable press when a Nobel Prize lands. I repeat that I have never seen an employment contract at a university with an ultimatum to “publish or get fired”.

I know of two former colleagues who conducted plenty of research but were poor teachers. They both lost their courses to new staff and research funds dried up. The rest is history.

On the other-hand, I have an American colleague at Princeton (top ivy league school) who has exceptional scholarship in physics and microelectronics. He manages a research team working on applied microelectronics in a project sponsored by the U.S. Government and Boeing Aircraft Corp. Secrecy mandates mean he cannot publish in any journal. He teaches UG courses and has not published in the last five years. My colleague gained a faculty promotion in June this year? Do you think Princeton is going to fire him for not publishing in scholarly journals?

So gentlemen, do not be fooled by the headline. These are complex issues and one should not be mistaken to think that publications are the guarantor of permanent employment. Academic tenure underpins employment but it increasingly is rare employment. Above all, the university has to have a good reason to keep you (good at research, teaching or both).

Muki StoneHall

Almost everyone will agree that this topic of "Publish or Perist" has generated one of the hottest debates we've had on this forum in the past few months.It has also achieved another unintended purpose:it has led us know who are the real learned proffessors on this forum and who are those pretending to be.Personally I have deduced quite much from the different postings and my respect for most of you guys has grown exponentially.
But Mr (Prof) Tekum Mbeng, I want to go back to your analogy above.You likened Lecturers publishing to players scoring goals on the field.Don't you think you are comparing quite different things.That doesn't really seem like an analogy.Players are part of a team,but are lecturers? One player on the field cannot score without other players touching the ball,but a lecturer can work independently and publish.
You also seem to always take issue with other peoples grammar.That's not a crucial point here and can always be ignored,provided you understand what the other guy is saying.
Intellectuals,fire on.I want to hear more about publishing in Havard, Princeton, Oxford, MIT,Stanford and God-knows-where.

rexon

Tekum,

To be honest with you, the first time i heard about publishing or lose your job was not here in the postnewsline. It was in my University. But we can unanimously google the net and find out if we can get evidences to support our contrasting views.

Whether you accept it or not, there is a publish or you go policy in research led institutions all over the world mostly in the US. Despite giving you the example of Mary Bange, you are still trying to defend your ignorance. Secondly, you linked publications to teaching. It is a standard knowledge that some researchers are not very good at teaching. My Supervisor is a typical example. In research led institutions, these type of academics are sometimes employed "MAINLY" to undertake scholarly research. Again, if this brings a new debate on this subject, i will refer you to check professor Taffler of the Management School at the University of Edinburg. He is a renowned stock Market anomaly researchers who has published in foremost journals in the US but is not good at teaching. So sometimes, research and teaching skills cannot be perfectly correlated. You can be a very good researcher but not a good teacher. So to say, students will still be interested in hearing from you, maybe in departmental research seminars or Symposia's but not in the classroom. My Supervisor is a good example. Maybe we are writing from two different backgrounds. Myself, from Finance, and yourself from the natural sciences.

Ashwell Molaba

Permit me add my two cents comments here. Muki StoneHall makes an interesting comment about the digression. Though, I think he should have spelt it out for every one by commenting on the actual debate. I fully agree with him that the language used or the university is not the point of debate. The question is whether someone who does not publish can preach a policy of publish or perish.

Tekum Mbeng is absolutely right. Creativity cannot be legislated. This debate appears to be a good one but it really isn't. It appears everyone agrees that university lecturers have to do research and publish. Most of us also agree that universities in Cameroon are mainly teaching institutions and that the environment is not conducive for research and publication. So why, does this debate have to carry the misguided title of intellectual scholarship?

In my humble opinion, Cameroonians just like showing off. Telling us about who is who at UB, what pertains in UK or US universities is really besides the point. No sane person will say lecturers shouldn't publish and I don't think Tekum Mbeng has said that.

By the way, Francish Nche almost always seems to have some insider information on how the system works in Cameroon. Thank you for letting some of us know what administrative functions Mathematician Dr Gideon Ngwa has. Next time we want to know who will be president or prime minister, we know who to ask.

rexon

Tekum,

This is a public forum and we should not express our ignorance here and hang on it. I will give you an example of two schemes run by the University of Oxford and their objectives as clearly stated in their websites.

Bridging Support Scheme and Career Support Scheme: Objectives as stated are: (a) to encourage the retention of experienced and skilled staff; and (b) to avoid the traumatic and disruptive break in employment and career which might otherwise be faced by such staff.

What does the words "retention" and "disruptive break in employment and career" means in these two objectives?

In most contracts nowadays, universities normally employ the term "Retention" and "Career progression" to describe your contract. What they mean is that during the end of your contract, you will be evaluated and either retained, dropped, or promoted. This as i said is in both research and teaching led institutions. Now you spoke of being a good teacher and argue in favour of teaching. What if you are employed are you are either not good in teaching or in researching? What will the university do with you? Researh led institutions normally employ staffs (mostly PhD's) and ask them to publish or they go as that is why they are employed in the first place. Then they employ a small group of people (which in the UK are mostly called teaching fellows) who take a bulk of the teaching and are not customarily required to undertake research but may do so if they wish. Research staffs are required in standard UK research institutions to teach an average of 40 hours in a semester. Then the remaining time is used for their research.

Hope this issue is over.

vally England

Takun Mbeng,
I am not surprise with your pompousness,it helps if your contributions speaks for themselves rather than you trying to force them down our throat.

You analogy on research are just as remote as the word remote.Stop the contracdictions and saying things which are not true.

A university that puts resources at researchers expect result,nothing more nothing less.Universities are not only for teaching,learning and ethics as you said,but also gets into research and others.You have research and teaching minded unversities depending on priorities and other factors.

Most unversities will imposed some conditions on employment,this depends on the circumstances and unversity policy.In most cases it centres around,research,teaching, publications,making money for the dept/faculty or the unversity.

Takum Mbeng stop this circle analysis,
about your friends in Pricetown,havard etc.
It does not make you more Takum Mbeng than you are.
Vally
England.

rexon

Ashwell,

I dont agree with you. Sometimes we need to use our knowledge, wisdom and personal experiences to explain certain facts. That is not showing off. If we bring such examples, we might shed light on constructs of reality that might not be known by others. I always use my personal experience to explain certain facts here. I might not know what impression others might gather about me but what will matter to me is if those close to me see me like someone who habitually shows up. So it is not about showing off, but about the reality.

Additionally, the debate has not been off topic as u seem to suggest. The issue has been UB lecturers publishing or being fired. If you collect and spend research grants (In Cameroon it is part of your salary while in the UK it is stipulated in your contract) then u must publish or get fired. Then Tekum argued that he has not seen any University where people would be fired if they have not been publishing and he supports this fact by claiming he is a University don. That does not necessarily mean he has said that they should not publish. I said "NO" because i know most contracts stipulates that you MUST publish and SOME specifies the quality of journals.

Ashwell Molaba

Rexon,

May be the intension is not to show off when we use personal experience. But the reality is that it is showing off. As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intensions. Reality is a difficult word so I will stir off it on this topic.

Talking about contracts, I want to say that is not a difficult one to prove. All you need doo is present one such contract. For me, I know for sure because I studied and worked in a UK university (Imperial College). My line manager had to fill in a form on my performance. My contract did not stipulate any where that I had to publish or leave. Obviously the culture of research and publication is embedded in UK institutions. But it is not legislated. And that is where we disagree. Hope that helps.

rexon

Ashwell,

Thanks for your very constructive ideas. What they habitually (as far as i understand) do is that they employ the words "Retention and Career progression" for both teaching and research fellows or Lectureship positions. If you publish and/or teach very well, then the evaluation commitee might renew your contract (retain you). But if you have problems in these two domains, then the commitee have the right to terminate your contract. That is why contracts are specified as fixed terms and/or with the possibility of retention (Tenure tracks as schemed in the US).

Imperial College as you know is a foremost University in the UK. The publishing patterns might be rife in such a way that you might seldom hear discussions of lecturers not publishing or being fired for not publishing. Almost everybody i know that has left there or has been maintained or employed there have a realistic publishing record. But that is not the case in average Universities like Leicester or Brunel that are still struggling to make a name for themselves. We cannot scan contracts and show here as we might not have the time to go that far. Otherwise, i would have laid hands on any and show you.

Francis Nche

Mr Aswell Molaba,

Higher Education is made up of the University System where Academician are trained and the College System where Professionals and Experts are trained.
In a college, which is the creation of Plato (339BC) such as your Emperial college has a professionally orientated role where the terminal degree is a Specialised Doctorate. In such an institution research and publications is less important in the career of a trainer. Therefore a Lecturer may not be subjected to Publish or Perish Principle.Teaching Evaluation becomes the main tool for promotion
In the University system which was founded by Aristotle (330BC), academia in the research context is the centre piece of all activities and the terminal degree is a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) based on Research findings. Research plays a pivotal role for attracting, recruiting and Retaining Lecturer. In that condition, the principle of Publish or perish is applicable. It should be noted that teaching evaluation and personal relationship also play a role although of lesser importance.
The demarcation is not as clear cut as represented because colleges and Schools in most cases constitute a part of a University. Therefore there is always a possibility for an excellent teacher who have not succeeded in research to be obliged to sign a contract s an Instructor. A position of teaching without career possibility.
I hope Dr.A. A. Agbor Mbai may correct me if I am wrong

rexon

Francis Nche,

While i agree with some intelligent ideas in your write-ups, i dont understand its link with your whole story about Aristotle and Plato. I know they formed this two systems. But i also know there are collegiate Universities. The University of Durham (UK), the third oldest University in England is a collegiate University. To explain in other words, the University like Cambridge, London is comprised of a series of independent Colleges. My understanding from a friend working there is that Imperial college is affiliated to the University of London, though somehow independent. Thus it is a collegiate University like Durham and Cambridge.

vally England

Rexon,
Imperial college was part of university of London.Almost all contracts in any university must mention research and teaching.The university of Buea lecturer's contracts clearly stipulate this,infact,the sum allocated for research is mentioned and you normally have this in your pay slip.
Emphasis defers with each university policy,to say you lecture with a university and your contract does not stress such emphasis is questionable.

Universities tailored their contract based on their policy,they duel more on research or teaching, making monies through such research and consultancy,doing one with another functions within the university of her interest,etc tec.

Finally,such roles varies within universities,but UB and Ngoh must not speak for speaking sake.They should provide what it takes to undertake research and teaching since that is UB policy.
They can not be deviating funds into cushy outstation allowances then demand lecturers to undertake research without essential equipments.

Vally
England.

Ashwell Molaba

Vally,

Is right! Imperial College is an independent college that forms part of the University of London. In fact the University of London cannot be said to exist in reality. The only time people talk of the University of London is at graduation ceremonies or on degree certificates. It is more or less an administrative body. University College Lond, London School of Economics, Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine, School of Oriental and African Studies etc all form part of the University of London

Francis Nche,

The distinction you are trying to write about really does not make sense. Especially in the United Kingdom. Oxford University also has a collegiate system. Aristotle started a Lyceum from where we get the name Lycee (High School).

All that aside, I want to state categorically that no contract that I know of ever has: Publish or Perish written in it. The argument Takum Mbeng was trying to put forth which we are now running away from is that creativity cannot be legislated. I want to read every one's views on that.

Staff retention and career development has nothing to do with publishing articles. There is absolutely no way a lecturer in the UK will remain in position without publishing. In Western universities it is a given. The topic is hardly ever an issue; because everyone understands that research and publication is a norm. I suppose my argument here has always been that imposing that one aspect in UB is totally wrong. Many people have given sufficient reasons why that cannot be done and left the debate already.

red flag

ALL YOU PEOPLE FAIL TO KNOW ONE THING.

SOUTHERN CAMEROONS IS A COLONY OF CAMEROUN.
SINCE ALL THINGS ARE CONNECTED, HEALTHCARE, ROAD AND BRIDGES, FARMING, HIGH SCHOOLS AND UNIVERSITY MANAGEMENT, FOODSTUFF, AND JOD CREATION, PETROLEUM MINING AND AIRPORT CONSTRUCTION IN SOUTHERN CAMEROONS, ARE BUT CAMEROUNS DECISIONS.
AND SOUTHERN CAMEROOONS DREAMS. WE ARE NOT IN CHARGE OF OUR DESTINY, LOOK AT THE UB, WHO IS THE UB PRESIDENT? HE IS PAUL BIYA, UB ONLY HAVE BUT A VICE CHANCELOR.
SOO IS ALL INSTITUTIONS IN S CAMEROONS,
THE YAOUNDE KNOWLEDGE AND WORLDVIEW IS TOTALLY OPPOSING TO OUR BUEA PEOPLE WORLDVIEW, WE EXPECT THINGS WHITE, BUT THE OFFERS BLACK TO US, WE DEMAND RAIN, THEY OFFER SUN, WE DEMAND INDEPENDENCE , THEY OFFER SLAVERY AND KILLINGS ETC, SOO. FOR A TRU ATMOSPHERE
OF ANGLOSAXON DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTION AND DEVELOPMENT, JUST AS NIGERIA OR GHANA,

SOUTHERN CAMEROONS HAVE TO FIRST BECAME
(INDEPENDENCE COUNTRY) ELSE ALL THESE CRITICISM CAN GO ON FOR ONE HUNDRED YEARS

rexon

Ashwell,

What if you are not good in teaching and research? Would you be retained?

Tekum Mbeng was responding to this statement by Eyallow:

"I have never encountered this anywhere in the world where academics are forced to publish papers or lose their jobs"

The question you might want to consider again is who is an academic?

In Eyallow own words, he RIGHTLY described an academics as:

"There are 3 kinds of Academics: Those that are interested in research only, those that are recruited to teach the ideas that thier collegues are researching and publishing on and those that research and teach at the same time!"

From Eyallow's words above, we can reclassify them as Researh fellows, Teaching fellows, and Lecturers or Senior Lecturers, Readers and Professors. All this group receives some kind of input from research assistants.

Research fellows (to streamline my argument) are subject to "Publish or leave contracts" in the beginning of their tenure. Exceptional cases might be discussed when they are to be retained esspecially when they had some setbacks during their tenure like illnesses.

Creativity are habitually legislated with "choice of words". Most Universities employ the "words retention and career progression" These as defined in tenure track and other contracts incorporate minimum publications over a speficied period of time. If not, you get an unfair re-evaluation that might lead to being sacked.

I suppose i have given an evidence of someone who has lost her job because she has not been publishing.

Celestine Nke Fosung

Do we really have to rely on foreign and expensive technologies to do local research? For those who mention PCR mention as a means of doing research; How was DNA work done before the advent of PCR machine? True, money is needed for research, and scarce it is in our universities. Do we have to sit and do nothing because there is no money? We have to depend on local home based methods to survive. We have to devise ingenious means to compete. We cannot rely on foreign technologies to succeed. There are basic things we can do before thinking big.

Tekum Mbeng

Rexon and Nche Francis,

You guys continuously mis-represent my contributions in a vain effort to reframe my write up. That kind of intellectual corruption is unnecessary partisanship which is best left to young politicians. I hope Ashwell Molaba at Imperial College London can succeed to teach Francis Nche some facts about teaching contracts.

We all agree that a university lecturer anywhere should teach, research and publish scholarly articles. Anyone who has tried to fulfill these functions in an outstanding manner will find it very hard especially in managing the expectations of grantors, the work of PhD students and as well as teaching and departmental commitments. Unless, you are grand professor, there may be no personal assitant to man your office telephone.

No university is going to fire a staff that excels in teaching or educating students and enjoys dazzling reviews. In fact, it is not rare to find that better teachers in a U.S. university are overloaded with courses to partially free up research grantees to carry out more corporate research, thus giving the college a win-win scenario. In the end, the College needs to make a profit.

We disagree vehemently on whether there should be a contractual ultimatum in a university teaching contract saying to all new hires “publish or be fired”. This is an important detail that must be rationally defined. Again, I have never seen or heard of such a clause.

Francis Nche

Mindful of the Presidential Decree No. 93/027 of 19th January 1993 laying down the general regulations governing Cameroon sate Universities and in keeping with the Ministerial Order No 03/0050/MINESUP/DDES/ of the 30th of July 2003 fixing the Operandi Modus for the Joint Recruitments and Promotions Board (CCIU)of the Cameroonian academic society, It does not take Dr. Ngoh to announce that Lecturers must publish or quit. This is therefore not limited to UB. It applies to all the Six State Universities. It must not be stated on the contract. Once a candidate accepts a Job offer in the University, he is automatically subjected to the rules and Regulations governing that institution.

Aswell Molaba
High School accordingly is an Institution of Higher Learning. It depends on the language used (Hochschule-German; Grand Ecole-French etc) all mean the same thing.

In US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Austria etc, there are Community Colleges (Les Ecoles Normales-France, Volkhochschule-German) whose emphasis are on training and Universities (les Universités-France, Universität-German) where research is emphasized.
Revisit your view that research work is unimportant in UK because everybody publish. My brother, that is an impossibility; there will always be some people who will not be able to publish even in Harvard and some people like Prof. Titanji even in UB will continue to dish out ground breaking publications year-in year-out

Tekum Mbeng

Francis Nche writes: “In a college, which is the creation of Plato (339BC) such as your Imperial College has a professionally orientated role….”

This Francis has a fantastic mind. Who told him that Plato (circa 427–347BC) created the University of London Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine.

The British Isles in Platoan times was a hunter-gatherer society. Records suggests the Normans, Vikings, Angles, Saxons and Jutes only emigrated there after about 700, based on carbon dating of artefacts.

Francis is nevertheless entitled to comment about UB but his contribution should undergo rigorous review before being put on the net

Recommended reading to Francis Nche "Guns, germs and steel, the fate of human societies" by Jared Diamond.

rexon

Tekum Mbeng,

My dear Brother,

Your misrepresented the views of Eyallow in a streak effort to defend him and you are still trying to mis-represent them. Maybe you never read his inclusion and definition of whom an academic is. Eyallow spoke of academics, which incorporates research fellows or researchers. Research fellows have research contracts that stipulate that they must publish. In research led institutions even in Imperial College where Ashwell is, teaching fellows do most of the work to provide time for researchers as defined to undertake their research. Teaching fellows sometimes include some PhD holders who have been unable to excel in research after their tenure track periods and have had their contracts reviewed and reclassified as teachers.

What if an academic is employed and is not good at teaching or research, would he be retained after his/her tenure track period?

Thank you.

mettaboy

Hi folks
I am really impressed by the quality of the debates and I think this is one of the most focused so far in the forum. Coming to the issue of ‘publish or perish,’ there’s a strong consensus on research as the quintessential expectation of a university both in the medium and long-run. However, how a university gets about it, is a function of capability, context, system and politics.
Besides creating the minimum incentives to translate research expectations into fruition, a university may elect to formalise its research expectations into contractual agreements with lecturers, or relies on peer pressure to constrain lecturers to deliver research ouputs. A university may opt to blend ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ laws to achieve its research objectives. Advanced countries, especially top-notch universities like Harvard, Columbia, Yale, can achieve their research goals efficiently and effectively by maximising peer pressure. In young universities like UB where peer pressure is low or almost absent, maximising coercive instruments can be more effective to achieving research expectations.
Meanwhile, one can’t be oblivious of the conditions in which some of our compatriots in UB are working in. However, these deplorable conditions are not an anomaly in Africa. Some lecturers nonetheless are singling out themselves by translating the nominal research grants given by UB into publications in standard and renowned journals. These hard working individuals deserved to be encouraged and the ‘publish or perish’ law can act as an incentive. The question is how are these individuals able to maximise the research grants given to them? Can lecturers account for how the yearly research grants they received are spent? The constraints of resources shouldn’t be an excused for lecturers to free-ride their contractual obligations.
The crucial question is whether UB administration will be consistent in implementing the rule. Experience has shown that ‘publish or perish’ has been selectively implemented to victimise lecturers with opposition sympathies, or to settle personal scores. If the new administration opts to follow this path, then the effectiveness of the law will be undone. Every one, in the teaching hierarchy must play by the same rules. I think the debate is more about the effectiveness of the instruments to achieve the research goals rather than the strategy which UB wants to pursue.

mettaboy

Hi folks
I am really impressed by the quality of the debates and I think this is one of the most focused so far in the forum. Coming to the issue of ‘publish or perish,’ there’s a strong consensus on research as the quintessential expectation of a university both in the medium and long-run. However, how a university gets about it, is a function of capability, context, system and politics.
Besides creating the minimum incentives to translate research expectations into fruition, a university may elect to formalise its research expectations into contractual agreements with lecturers, or relies on peer pressure to constrain lecturers to deliver research ouputs. A university may opt to blend ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ laws to achieve its research objectives. Advanced countries, especially top-notch universities like Harvard, Columbia, Yale, can achieve their research goals efficiently and effectively by maximising peer pressure. In young universities like UB where peer pressure is low or almost absent, maximising coercive instruments can be more effective to achieving research expectations.
Meanwhile, one can’t be oblivious of the conditions in which some of our compatriots in UB are working in. However, these deplorable conditions are not an anomaly in Africa. Some lecturers nonetheless are singling out themselves by translating the nominal research grants given by UB into publications in standard and renowned journals. These hard working individuals deserved to be encouraged and the ‘publish or perish’ law can act as an incentive. The question is how are these individuals able to maximise the research grants given to them? Can lecturers account for how the yearly research grants they received are spent? The constraints of resources shouldn’t be an excused for lecturers to free-ride their contractual obligations.
The crucial question is whether UB administration will be consistent in implementing the rule. Experience has shown that ‘publish or perish’ has been selectively implemented to victimise lecturers with opposition sympathies, or to settle personal scores. If the new administration opts to follow this path, then the effectiveness of the law will be undone. Every one, in the teaching hierarchy must play by the same rules. I think the debate is more about the effectiveness of the instruments to achieve the research goals rather than the strategy which UB wants to pursue.

rexon

Mettaboy,

You have misrepresented the whole debate. It centers on whether the "publish or perish rule" (or something of the kind) are customarily stipulated in the employment contracts of some academics as defined by Eyallow.

Tekum Mbeng

Francis Nche,

Presidential decrees and ministerial orders anywhere are not infallible. These are political statements. More fundamentally, these politicians are not even responsible for the contents of what they sign.

For example, Paul Biya has used presidential immunity to attack the Constitution of Cameroon twice and it would not be surprising if he attacks the supreme law again to seek another 7 year term.

MKOP (my kind of people) give credence to documents produced by an independent body of free thinkers, such as a free Parliament or Universities Governing Commission if such a body can be permitted in Cameroon.

The mistrust of all politicians is the beginning of wisdom. MKOP believe politicians, in government and opposition, should be subjected to continuous and non-partisan censure by the press.

Tekum Mbeng

Rexon writes: "What if an academic is employed and is not good at teaching or research, would he be retained after his/her tenure track period?"

Answer:- there is no room for incompetence or lack-lustre performance in academics or in the corporate world.

mettaboy

Rexon,
I think you haven't read between the lines of my arguement. I think the issue is not whether 'perish or publish' rule is a customarily stipulation in contracts. A contract can be implicit or explicit depending on the context. Research and publication are not only tangible outputs but cultural frabrics of a university. In universities where the culture of research is entrenched, research expectations are taken as a given.
You have to understand that the trend now is towards self regulation even in the labour markets. At Columbia, where i studied, the publish or perish rule is informalised but very effective due to peer pressure.

Francis Nche

Tekum Mbeng,
I write in plain language and there it is really unconvincing trying to formulate as if Aristotle created Imperial College. The good thing is that the great intellectuals in this forum need no interpretation for any statement.
Presidential decrees and Ministerial Orders cannot be overlooked in Cameroon because Biya himself is not a law abiding citizen. As you rightly said, he signs the decrees without knowing the content which are prepared by specialists. It is within that political context that a University in Cameroon operates.
Any University System operates within a certain political context. e.g. Columbia University where Metta Boy is from respects the US Federal Laws (e.g. Affirmative Action)in addition to NY state and the NY City local government laws. What matters is the integrity of the laws not of the legislators, Governors or the president who enacted them into laws.
Even within the Universities especially some low level Universities in US sometimes lecturer are pressured by the authorities to be generous with marks (a case referred to as Grade inflation) because students getting low GPA will prefer to leave the University and go and pay fees elsewhere.

Tekum Mbeng

Can anyone give us a summary of the technical infrastructure available at UB for scientific research?

What are the target scholarly journals and how much allowance is typically granted to lecturers for research and publishing?

Or are we discussing a case of un-funded mandates?

mettaboy

I think Tekum's question on how much is allocated for research and publishing is central to the effectiveness of the 'publish or perish' rule. I think the issue is not whether UB should be coercive or soft with its performance assessment indicators. Rather, would the 'perish or quit' rule narrow the research 'capability expectation' gap of UB? This is an implementation problem and Tekum's questions are insightful in this light.

Francis Nche

Tekum Mbeng,
Without going to any technicalities, any one Lecturer who complain of lack of Research facilities and Funding is like a lazy worker who keep on complaining of his tool.
Albert Einstein ground breaking publication(E=MC2 1905)came out when he was working in the patent office in Zurich, Switzerland not in a String Theory lab, in Yale.
Any one who has done basic Biology must be familiar with such names and their biological contributions.
Anton Van Leeuwenhoek whom the foundation of microscopy is attributed and Alfred Wallace, the co-author of the Evolution theory of Natural Section were all traders who never knew how a formal lab looks like. Jean Baptiste de Lamark, the Father of the Theory of inheritance of acquired characteristics was a hunter. Gregor Mendel, the father of Genetics was a Monk in a monastery. The list goes on and on.
My point is that it does not take a complicated lab without ideas to do research. Even in UB, there are great Researchers. Research is simply being creative enough to get something new. The lab might be a part of the problem in UB but the main problem is the creativity of the Manpower and the role model which is to lobby and get appointments and steal the budget or get more mission orders and more out of station allowances. After school instead of trying to visualize research project, most Lecturers spend time in the drinking spots like Lady L, Buea Mountain Club, Down beach Limbe, Esseme Beach etc

Tekum Mbeng

Francis Nche,

Assuming you read scholarly journals in your area of specialization, how many researchers have you located who are comparable to Albert Einstein, Anton Van Leeuwenhoek, Alfred Wallace, Gregor Mendel and others?

You need some realism.

tayong

Tekum
I didn't want to contribute anymore on this debate that seems to drag out of proportion until I saw you asking questions as to the technical infrastructures in UB available for research. I needn't go cross examining the lecturers but it needs more than just infrastructure to do research.

Actually research doesn't emanate from the the lab. It starts out of curiosity,creativity, determination and the willingness to do research. Here in the west most researchers are unbelievably stinkingly rich, why?

Most with minimal infrastructure, brainstorm into any new technology or whatever, publish their findings, convince the business gurus of the implicable results that will come out from there(though they aren't always 100% sure anyway) and get sponsored. That's why you hardly find some of them on campus if not on schedule, the industry is their second lab.

What infrastructure does a life science lecturer need to carry out research on the link between TB and AIDS,malaria etc? I told you guys a friend left Europe without any equipment, came and did this in Cameroon , came back and won a huge research grant from an NGO.He used apparatus from local dispensaries to anlyse his samples.

There're thousands of research opportunities back home though with minimal facilities to work with much can still be achieved with that.

As Im talking to you now a Cameroonian friend has just picked up a research position with PECTIN Dla . What did he do?
He contacted them if he could design their piping system with a new software his supervisor designed.Surprisingly they told him they needed an operation research manager , behold ,exactly what he did.
So man , it needs more than infrastructure to do research.The willingness must be there.


Thats why our UB lecturers are poor. PHD stipend is chicken fee compared to what people make from research .These researches aren't most of the time carried out with Campus infrastructure.

That's why I'll still say a research minded lectuer can carry out effective research even in Ethiopia or Somalia, believe me.
Anyway let's put an end to this bluffing digression. When the Yde regime wont be there anymore there'll be more money for research.

Tayong

Tekum Mbeng

Tayong,

When an institution is after research, it does certain things that enable research to take off. The individual is autonomous and capable of breakthroughs with perspiration and luck. These things take time, planning, execution, cash and luck.

I expected you to tell us, if you know, that UB has a research council, suggestion box for students to drop in new ideas, inaugural lectures in which new staff state their areas of inquiry, lab facilities equipped with x analyzers of types a,b,c, high definition microscopes, IT provisions, etc. I also expected you to say who in the staff may already sit or seek to sit in the editorial boards of scholarly journals. This list is not comprehensive.

Instead, you present randomized examples without details. Examples can be misleading but are a tactically useful way to terminate an argument without establishing the kernel.

Do you understand what “research” entails?

tayong

Tekum
Honestly I must say without any insult on your person that you're unecessarily belligerent and wacky in your arguments and questions. It's unacceptably provocative to ask me if UB has a research council or if I understand what research entails. I wont stoop that low into the old aged awkward practice of self aggrandisement but will rather answer you simply,Yes I know what research entails.

Tayong

Ma Mary

What equipment did Gregor Mendel require to make seminal observations in genetics? Not a cent.

Just curiosity, a monastery garden, a handful of peas, a notebook and patience. BTW, he did not live long enough to realize the importance of his observations. Charles Darwin's research that led to the Theory of Evolution also depended on observation, no equipment that could be considered special today and room on a vogaging vessel. Evidence is that his ideas were already gelling before the voyage. All he did was confirm.

The element most missing is not coercion, but deep uncompromising curiosity and desire to know and extend the frontiers of knowledge. Original discoveries come out of left field, from unorthodoxy, thinking outside the box. There is so much that remains unknown. There are lots of reportable observations that could be made in our environment and society without the benefit of huge grants.

Ma Mary

Then again, we have no control of our destiny. It is a sterile discussion within that context.

Ma Mary

Power drinking, creative panty hunting, barroom philosophizing–last refuges of powerless intellectuals. Write, write, write, even if you cannot do sponsored research!Seize the power of your pen.

Kumbaboy

Be 4 you scientists, under the impetus of the administration, proceed with wacky scientific research at UB, please make sure that there is a competent process safety management system in place. I don't know how to describe it in French.

Take no chances. It is full competence or an accident with real consequences. UB will need an experienced chemical engineer educated and trained in the west in engineering operations. I don't know how thou shall afford such an individual but there may be a retiree seeking to return home.

The commandments are simple:-

(a) Thou shall not emit crap into the air.

(b) Thou shall not drain crap into sewers.

(c) Thou shall not dispose bio-hazards on land.

(d) Thou shall not take the empty container of crap home.

(e) Thou shall have an emergency rescue plan.

(f) Thou shall ensure that there is adequate personal protective equipment in place.

(g) etc.

Don't joke with chemicals. Gases are worst because some bad ones have no smell.
Take it easy. All good roads in life have thorns.

Tombele

You guys have made of a lot of noises, some correct and informative and others just plain rambling. I want to direct you guys elsewhwere. There is a research centre in Ekona Called IRZ a friend of mine's sister worked there,came up with brilliant research on how to use local feeds for cows, chicken and rabbits, these are even published on the net. She is of the era when education was something. London GCE , Master's degree in Chemistry U of Minnesota. PhD food science, U of Ife. She ran the centre well and then got bulldozed by CPDM bullshit. U of B can use these same facilities to do their research, share common equipment if the bullshit french administration knew how to organise. This person is not being utitilise for her knowledge, What a shame what a waste!!!!!

Kumbaboy

On research, the things that can easily be seen from western mindset have been seen.

A Third World country like Cameroon should not spend money on all types of fundamental research. Leave that work to the West.

We should target applied areas like medicine, diseases and technology transfer that solve local needs. How many flavo-aromatic compounds are in "monkey cola", can they be synthesized in a lab for infusion into a carbonized drink? What incense attracts a mosquito and can it be the basis of an electric trap? What is the ideal formulation and manufacturing method to make clay roof-tiles from local materials?

Ultimately, there should be a way to make money out of research or it fails.

rexon

Tekum,

This is not a debate about an individuals ability to read or write the queens language.

The issue here is: can lecturers be sacked for not publishing?

Some have said YES while others like you have said categorically NO.

What if the academic is not good at teaching or researching. What will be done after his tenure track period? MUST he be given a job as an academic?

The issue here is not about research facilities. We have all agreed that UB lacks the necessary facilities to propel laboratory and other research. Though they might still be motivated through creative thinking to conduct less capital intensive research.

Ashwell Molaba

This debate has since lost it's VROOM! We have dived into definitions of colleges and universities, teachers and researchers, academics etc. We are even confused whether "tenure track period" means "publish or perish". Some people have even given examples that betray their knowledge of what research is. What has research on the history of the Bamileke got to do with a laboratory? Or is that not research?

In all these we have lost sight of the question. I would like to specifically thank "Mettaboy" for his contribution. In my view his contribution answers the question. In the West it is a given that people will conduct research and publish. Circumstances are different Cameroon.

Telling me about Eistein and Darwin actually exposes a lot. And what was that about Decree number whatsoever? It is this very atmosphere where people are governed by decrees that does not allow for people to hold personal opinions. It does not reward "thinking" and therefore cannot be conducive to research.

vito

If you, master whatever you're into,and are dedicated to it,you should be able to publish within its framework.PERIOD!!

jam

Thanks for the great debate

tayong

Aswell Molaba

I agre in toto with you that alot of people have betrayed themselves on this forum when talking about research. A young man asks me if UB has labs equipped with laser dopplers, x analyzers of types a,b,c, high definition microscopes, IT provisions, cathode ray oscilloscopes and what have you.
To him maybe researching on the history of the Widikum people needs ultrasonic resonance meter to detect the bones of Ugiekum perhalps, funny indeed.

Gentlemen
This policy of "publish or perish" whether legislated or not exists in any academic institution worthy of the sort."Publish or perish" refers to the pressure to publish work constantly in order to further or sustain one's career in academia. The competition for tenure-track faculty positions in academia puts increasing pressure on scholars to publish new work frequently.

Frequent publication is one of the few methods at a scholar's disposal to improve his visibility, and the attention that successful publications bring to scholars and their sponsoring institutions helps ensure steady progress through the field and continued funding. Scholars who focus on non-publishing-related activities (such as instructing undergraduates), or who publish too infrequently, or whose publications are not clearly connected to one another in topic, may find themselves out of contention for available tenure-track positions.

A scholarly writer may experience pressure to publish constantly, regardless of the academic field in which the writer conducts scholarship.

Statistics I got from my University shows in the 1990s, graduate students and untenured assistant professors in the humanities and social sciences experienced more pressure than academics in the sciences, but after 2000, the pressure spread into other disciplines and the phenomenon came to influence the advancement of tenured associate professors to the coveted full professor title in the in the UK and United States.

So this isn't new anywhere in the world and UB shouldn't be an exception if they must raise their heads above the water.

Tayong

vally England

MettaBoy,
Any useful employment contract will not be talking of implied terms.Stipulate all provisions expressly, so the contractor and contractee, knows how and when to draw the line on the bset way forward in dispute/others.

Takum mbeng,
You have thousands if not millions of researchers today round the world,there is no good quoting or naming.Are we writing a paper here?
Bring on the problems/solutions on 'publish or perish'rule of UB.I talked to you of your pompousness last time you still carry on.Mellow down Boy.

vally
England.

vally England

MettaBoy,
Any useful employment contract will not be talking of implied terms.Stipulate all provisions expressly, so the contractor and contractee, knows how and when to draw the line on the best way forward in dispute/others.

Takum mbeng,
You have thousands if not millions of researchers today round the world,there is no good quoting or naming.Are we writing a paper here?
Bring on the problems/solutions on 'publish or perish'rule of UB.I talked to you of your pompousness last time you still carry on.Mellow down Boy.

vally
England.

Ma Mary

When I was a child, a few years ago there used to be dozens of species of butterflies that emerged, usually in the dry season. Then they seemed to varnish all of a sudden. What is the significance of their disappearance in climatic and ecological terms?

Has anybody studied the millions of smelly, inedible grasshoppers that emerge annually in Buea and eat every green thing in sight. Those were not part of the ecology several decades ago. From where were they introduced? What is their impact on local economy, agriculture? Can they be put to some use? Has there been any research on these?

Every year in Buea, a dampness descends from the mountains putting mould on everything, including books, walls and clothes. Has anybody identified this mucor, researched profit-making solutions to the mold problem? I could use something that prevents my shoes from turning green and nasty during the rainy season.

These are just examples. Not all research requires a superconducting supercollider.

Ma Mary

One of the ways to get sponsorship for research as Kumbaboy has indicated is to have a solutions and entrepreneurial focus. If you are doing research that could help my business make more money, I would sponsor you. This is done today by all the major research universities in the West. The downside is that universities and corporations are monopolizing, restricting and patenting a lot of information that could benefit the entire human race. At this point what is the choice?

Ma Mary

If you have a 17 year old who is about to go to college for a first degree in the US, should Harvard or Yale or Penn- big research universities neccesarily be your first choice if you want a thorough education for your charge? Probably not. These places might have superstar professors on their faculty, but your kid might never attend their classes.

There are liberal arts colleges all over the US, some of them in little towns which have excellent professors, who spend more time instructing and forming the young people.

So, the answer to the big question here depends on what you are trying to do with the institution. That is the question that needs to be answered carefully. Forming people and advancing the field are two different mandates, and sometimes they do not fly together very well.

mettaboy

Vally,
I won't like to give the debate a normative bend. A contract simply is a framework, arrangement, or tool for enforcing agreed expectations between parties. A signature appended on a paper, is just one of the options for managing the expectations. I think the issue i am alluding is more of useability, rather than usefulness. In advanced countries or universities where research is more of a culture than a product, there's little or no assymetry of information as per research expectations. An explicit contract, with targeted research output, in this light is more of a constraint on creativity, rather than a stimulus. An implicit contract, in a context where peer pressure is greater, provides a stronger incentive to go beyond the limits of expectations. This is an issue of efficiency, and effectiveness, rather than 'legal correctness or appropriateness'

Kumbaboy

Rexon, You are distorting Tekum’s contribution. Tekum is against inserting an ultimatum in a teaching contract requiring “publish or be fired”.

He has severally repeated his argument and gave the rationale – no one can legislate creativity and that creativity is nurtured. He also said there is no room anywhere for poor performers.

Nevertheless, you disingenuously spin that as saying lecturers should not publish, which raises questions about your own intelligence in comprehending written language.

Tekum Mbeng

Tayong touches an interesting issue – the substance of research in Cameroon universities. Tayong advocates easy research about the history of tribes, the “Widekum” for example. This could easily be his tribe. That explains his non-comprehension of infrastructural issues relating to research.

That is where Tayong and like-minded are backward-looking and unstrategic. While one acknowledges the relevance of subjects like history, one can however feel, almost violently that the future lies in the white heat of science and technology.

Tayongs can take their story telling research to villages and stay there. They should leave more room at UB to young minds studying economics, law, sciences and engineering. It is important that a large portion of the Cameroonian mind be focused on understanding natural principles and technology for solving the problems of today and tomorrow, thereby creating jobs, wealth and advancement.

Of what economic benefit is research on the Widekums? Can it cure malaria, span a bridge across a river, assemble a telephone processor, make an airplane fly, turn palm oil into soap, fight against corruption or put new clothes on man? Where will our children get jobs?

There is an impending battle in Cameroon about the nature of education which the country is yet to undertake. Many of us believe UB is over-engaged in the arts, which like UNIYAO, ENAM and the other places have only succeeded in churning out some of the most consuming, dictatorial, conceited, talkative and less productive minds on this planet.

Ironically, many graduates from these arts schools in Cameroon who emigrate to Western countries end up going back to sciences to be able to serve in their communities.

Tayong’s reference to research on tribes is a telling indictment of a Cameroonian mind ill-prepared to confront the challenges of tomorrow today.

rexon

Ashwell,

Tenure track period is a contract with its specifics. Nobody has said "Tenure Track" is equal to "publish or perish" to the best of my knowledge. But somebody (Rexon) has said "creativity" benchmarked through publications are formalised esspecially when huge research grants are involved. I have colleagues with clear cut research contracts with its specifics. When professors become less creative, they habitually employ doctoral students who help them to generate new ideas.

Kumbaboy,

Tekum's contributions was generated from Eyallow's argument. He argued that he has seen nowhere where an "Academic" can be told to publish or loose his\her job.

Research fellows as defined are academics.

Kumbaboy

Rexon,

Read eyallows’ mail again. Eyallow and Tekum are unanimous in stating that they have no experience of academics being “forced” anywhere in the world to “publish papers or lose their jobs".

Eyallow actually cites an expected possibility of academics/researchers faking data. Cameroon is still corrupt and UB's reputation can sink in seconds.

Being “told” and being “forced” have different connotations. The latter is clearly an ultimatum which might as well be written into the employment contract. Eyallow and Tekum oppose this approach.

You Rexon, Francis Nche and Vally of England seem to endorse the idea of writing an ultimatum into teaching contracts.

BU would be making a bad mistake to force publications. I agree with Tekum’s assertion that no one can legislate creativity or forcefully expanding intellectual capacity.

Research capacity is seeded, nurtured and grown through research provisions, rewards and recognition in an academic environment. How many parents are able to beat their kids to the top positions in class? Can we "snake-beat" Song, Eto'o and party to bring the Soccer World Cup home?

rexon

Kumbaboy,

I have not said anywhere in my write-up that teachers should have an obligation to publish. I have said some academics (For example reseachers who might not have any teaching obligation) are sometimes contractractually oblidged to publish or lose their "research" contracts. A lecturer is a teacher and a researcher. His engagements and job description represents the two in most cases. Teaching fellows and research fellows have distint engagement that in most cases, do not represent the two functions.

Understand that when u use the term academic, you are relating to different classes of people as specified by Eyallow.

Kumbaboy

Rexon,

On Tuesday 10 October at 7:15 AM, Eyallow wrote: "I have never encountered this anywhere in the world where academics are forced to publish papers or lose their jobs"

In response at 7:51AM, Rexon wrote ”this is a common practice in the United States and the UK especially in research led institutions and is habitually specified in the academic contracts of Lecturers and sometimes PhD students” Tekum Mbeng and others took you to task.

Then, today October 12, 2006 at 5:15PM, Rexon wrote “I have not said anywhere in my write-up that teachers should have an obligation to publish”.

In this U.S., they call your behavior “flip-flopping” to mean intellectual inconsistency in Britain.

rexon

Kumbaboy,

Where is the intellectual inconsistency? Look keenly in your dictionary and differntiate between a teacher and an academic. A teacher is an academic and an academic MUST NOT be a teacher.

Who is a teacher, researcher and who is an academic? Kumbaboy, is a Lecturer a teacher? Is a researcher not an academic? Must researchers teach? From Eyallow's comments he was making GENERALISATIONS broadly on "Academics" as defined not "Teachers". If he said teachers, i would'nt have bothered.

Read Eyallow's intelligent differentiation:

"There are 3 kinds of Academics: Those that are interested in research only, those that are recruited to teach the ideas that thier collegues are researching and publishing on and those that research and teach at the same time!"

tayong

Tekum
You continue to digress from issues under scrutiny.Whether I come from Widikum is not the matter, anyway my name speaks for itself. Tekum, professional ethics demand that research be held in high esteem no matter the field of research.

Well, since you keep on pulling my leg , I wish to let you know Im not from the "story telling department" as you rediclously put it. Im of Mechanical Engineering specifically aerodynamics department. It's not because A is doing research on rocket science while B on the history of Widikum people that A will be more of a researcher than B.

Then you write "of what economic benefit is research on the Widekums? Can it cure malaria, span a bridge across a river, assemble a telephone processor, make an airplane fly, turn palm oil into soap, fight against corruption or put new clothes on man? Where will our children get jobs?"

Tekum you've really taken me aback with this. You dont love examples but I will give them to you. In 1980 a Professor in Alabama traced the origin of most African Americans to Senegal and Ghana. After his publications thousands of African Americans trooped into these countries. Many built Orphanages, some erected schools in their names, tourism flourished , I vividly still know of the Orprah Winfred girls school in Pretoria etc etc etc.

Now I throw back the question to you. Was that of any economic benefit to these nations? Hope not Tekum?

Tayong

Tekum Mbeng

Even if Tayong's antropology story is correct, such flow of capital to the said countries is minimal, short-lived, not sustainable and reversible.

The said capital is still less than the overseas aid given to these countries which gets squandered because the beneficiaries make poor decisions.

Oprah's girl school in the RSA fulfills a promise she had made to the great old man. It is not because O's ancestry has been traced to that country.

Ashwell Molaba

Tekum Mbeng,

I will continue to defend your point that "creativity cannot be legislated". Mettaboy has given more substance to that view. However, you have dragged this debate several years backwards by linking the word "research" and "utility". And in doing so, you made a veiled attack on one tribe "Widikum". You seem to have missed the original suggestion I made; which intentionally referred to the Bamileke. Stir off the tribalistic tendency, it is hurtful to you and others.

I have often made the naive mistake of thinking that the humanities were less important compared to the sciences. In doing so, I have always used the utilitarian argument of; what does it benefit the world? It is a fatal error to draw small circles around ourselves and think that is the world. Can we ask ourselves, what use it is for us to study the history of the Germans? Is the history of the Germans more important than that of the Bafut or Widikum? Is it not important for us to understand each other properly, so that we can relate better? How can we provide for the needs of a people whom we do not not. I am a determinist, and I believe strongly that your current desires and needs are formulated by your history and background. I hope you begin to understand that the most valuable asset is the human being, not the telephone, or soap or bridges.

Tekum Mbeng,

This debate is about "Research and Publication". Not what subject is better to study or which one is more benefitial to communities. I urge you to read the works of one former lecturer from UB, Francis Nyamnjoh. He has made a name for himself in international circles, from Humanities. At one time in Cameroon, I was asked how studying Mathematics will benefit me or Cameroon. Please don't be so naive. We do not need laboratories to conduct meaningful research that can help people. This in no way means, that laboratories and equipment are not important.

A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) requires extraction of DNA from cells using complex buffers. These nicely packaged buffers are nothing more than ordinary soap. A PCR machine is nothing more than a glorified heating block. These will cost a fortune in Cameroon where children go to bed hungry every night. Not that certain labs in Cameroon do not have PCR machines. The culture of a questioning mind in whatever field does not require a PCR machine. PERIOD

Tekum Mbeng

On 10 October at 5:26AM, Ashwell Molaba wrote “the University of Buea remains a glorified High School.… But those who have taken refuge in UB continue to deceive poor students with "BIG" words like publications”

On 13 October at 4:00 AM, Ashwell Molaba claims that Tekum Mbeng has “made a veiled attack on one tribe Widikum".

Cited above are two questionable examples. To claim that Tekum Mbeng attacked the Widikum tribe is laughable and surprising. Who introduced the Widikum tribe to this debate? Would you consider a journalist censoring a ministerial order to be attacking the government? Where do you draw the line and on what criteria?

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