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« Challenges For New World Bank President | Main | State Counsel Denies Commercialising Bail »

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Comments

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Ted

This article seems to be a repetition but may i ask why we keep looking at the same issue from the same angle? Of what good is western education to Africans especially Cameroonians? A majority of African dictators, embezzlers, corrupt and dishonest officials are products of western education. There has never been an African education as we have western education or Asian education. When will Africa be proud of an education that is African?

Abesong John

I do agree whole heartedly with this article whether repeated or not. There is a lot of reality and personal experiences included in this article.
It hurts really bad to see how the Cameroonian system of education is causing students to rot. I understand how different institutions in the US thanks to the great Cameroonian abassadors that passed through with flying colors despite their low GPAs from Cameroon are beginning to understand the funny and stingy grading system in Cameroon. What about many more universities where a Cameroonian has not passed through?These are just a few universities compared to the thousands that are wide open to the Ghanians, Nigerians, Kenyans etc. To be frank with you, China is what it is today thanks to the American or western schools. Go to any computer science, mathematics, chemistry, physics, pharmaceutical sciences, engineering sciences department in any American institution and you will be amazed by the number of Chinese or Asians in class. They have discovered the gold in education for their development but we are still caught in the minds like that of Ted. How can Africa or Cameroon be proud with nothing at hand. A good education anywhere should be fought for in order to develop your own system.
The future of any country lies the ambitious education plan for its citizens and otherwise. Lets sit as we are sitting now and watch countries like Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria in the near future.
Cameroon is cursed forever. Parents, teachers alike who do not want to see their children progress.
A High school student from Cameroon with just 2 "E"s will not repeat a course in an American university. They have got the teachers, the teaching assistants and all what it takes to succeed. Imagine an American Freshman intending to major in Chemistry with only two years of Chemistry from secondary and high school and still he/she succeeds. What about a Cameroonian who started Chemistry from form 1 till upper sixth (7 solid years of Chemistry)? The Cameroonian will be better even with an E in Chemistry at A levels.
All I know is that our system of education is great but let the teachers relax and give these kids a chance to compete with the rest of the world.
It's great that Buea is beginning to be recognized world wide thanks to her alumni, what about institutions like Yaounde, Dschang, Douala etc.
Buea should also try to have a website where students in the west can access in order to visit. I have a friend who wanted to take a semester in any university in Cameroon and I advised him to consider Buea since it's English but nothing could be found about Buea online. How sad?
Talking about teachers in Cameroon universities, I am sorry to say that they are a disgrace. A male teacher who sees a male student as an rival over another female student? He will certainly exercise his powers wherever possible. We need a lot of cleansing to be done and it will take the grace of God since the powers that be are also wrapped in the same corrupt and scandalous mess. May God help Cameroon. How soon is what will surely give me a heart attack.

Watesih

This is a very good article,and eye opener.We should be careful to make sweeping statements about Africa not having an Education.This idea of always celebrating Asians,and others is too cheap now.We talk of Asians values,just as we talk of African values.I don`t think somebody will say Africa does not have values,and belief systems that the West have admired.
Those who have limited knowledge of Asians should read more about them ,and know that their best scholars shuttled to the West to have a good Education.We should stop looking at ourselves with a piteous eye ,and point out the cause of our problems as Kimbeng has done above.What we call Asian Education has to do with Asian values propounded by people like Confucius, Mencius and others.Africans are not lacking in originality.The problem is that our own very people do not want to uphold our own values,and that is what this article is out to decry.And as long as the columnist has empirical evidence to show that our Education authorities have been trying to stand on the way of young minds in quest of knowledge,his ideas are very much welcome.I will add to what Abesong said above that Asians in particular have discovered the usefulness of Western Education,and will give their students 99% in all examinations to enable them have admission out there.We all know why the US has been reluctant to transfer sensitive technology to the Chinese,and why the European Union would not want to lift the arms embargo on them.
We cannot also go back into ourselves ,because we want to compare ourselves with others.Whether we are learning from the West or Asia,the end result is how we use this knowledge to make the world a better place.
When the Chinese build Confucius centers around the world,its because they want to sell their own ideas,but they have discovered that this is not enough,and are investing in Education,by sending their Children to the best Universities in the US.
They don`t stay back comparing themselves with the rest of the world.They go out there
and learn the ways of life of others.
The few renowned scholars we have in Africa are still suffering from greed.They will compare themselves with young scholars,
and do everything to slow down their career pursuits.Young energetic scholars are a danger to most of them,because some of them do not make a distinction between being a scholar ,and being a Politician.They abandon they students,and go out to campaign for their parties.Their students are eternally Doctorate students,who have to conduct exams,mark the scripts.Most of these Doctorate students use these exams as bargaining tools.They are products of a system where the maxim is , " If you are not with us ,you are against us".This is more the reason the President of the Republic has turned Universities into a nursery for his appointments into the government.What can one expect from an epicurean Professor who is suddenly appointed Minister,and abandons his students to organise parties,home comings ,and what have you.

Ted

what is the importance of western education to sub sahara Africans. I keep talking of western education especially to sub-sahara Africa because theirs is nowhere. All they've learnt is to enslave their own kind. If they had theirs, they would've learnt from the west or Asians and improved on theirs as the west and east have been learning from each other and building on their respective foundations. The absence of that foundation for sub-sahara Africa is one of the major reasons for her backwardness because knowledge has a base where ideas emanate from and western knowledge and Asian knowledge have their respective bases. We'll continue lagging behind until we put in place that base;it's not how much western or Asian knowledge we learn. Without that base, there won't be any much difference,even if the whole of sub-sahara Africa were to go to America and learn knowledge from their universities.

Ted

what is the importance of western education to sub sahara Africans. I keep talking of western education especially to sub-sahara Africa because theirs is nowhere. All they've learnt is to enslave their own kind. If they had theirs, they would've learnt from the west or Asians and improved on theirs as the west and east have been learning from each other and building on their respective foundations. The absence of that foundation for sub-sahara Africa is one of the major reasons for her backwardness because knowledge has a base where ideas emanate from and western knowledge and Asian knowledge have their respective bases. We'll continue lagging behind until we put in place that base;it's not how much western or Asian knowledge we learn. Without that base, there won't be any much difference,even if the whole of sub-sahara Africa were to go to America and learn knowledge from their universities.

reverend

There is no problem at all with the UB grading system.

Admission officers at US and European universities review transcripts from a wide variety of countries and should bring them down to the same scale of measurement. That is why they always demand information on the grading system of your university. If you look at the UB transcript, this information is contained on the top right hand corner of the first page. Any admission officer worth the title reviewing the transcript should be able bring the transcript to equivalent with the US or any other system.

As for lecturers not being generous with marks, I think the problem is that most students are simply lazy and want easy and free marks. When one is serious and studious, he is instead mocked and considered a social misfit.

If the problem was with lecturers how come we still get the few odd first class degrees with excellent marks throughout. Or did they favour these students?

But the underlying problem is that we have a caricature of a university system suffering from acute lack of academic resources: library books, up-to-date journals, electronic resources, laboratory infrastructure, well-trained teachers etc.

Watesih

Few weeks ago people came out here showering panegyrics on Asians,and asking Africans to copy from China.Did they forget at that time that Africans need a base? Has it only dawned on them today that Africans should not copy from the West,and the Asians? This type of flip flopping is ridiculous.We will keep making it clear to those who seem not to have a grasp of the African situation,that Africa is not in a race with the rest of the world.They have weakened Africans for centuries,and it will be intellectual dishonesty to try to put us on the same line of departure with them.Those who are infatuated with China ,and Asians should continue their role of public relation officers for them. But when they do this they should bare in mind that they do not have a base,and stop asking for one as if they were strangers in Africa.We will continue lagging behind, because some of us are too gullible,and will keep praising colonial masters who support genocidaires like the ones in Darfur.Even today these Asians, and the West continue to weaken us,so how would you want Africans to have a base? We dare jump out accusing Africans of enslaving each other,but when Asians and the West come after our resources we are the first to praise them,and ask others to copy from them.If we are such copycats ,why should we expect to have a base of our own ideas?

Agbor T

Mr Kimbeng,

I do agree with some aspects raised in your article though as indicated by Ted, its a repeat of an old previous article published in the post.
That not withstanding I have a few comments to make here. Lets be categorical here:

- The first issue limiting the number of Cameroon graduates able to study in US universities is purely financial. No qualms about that whether you or fellow commentators agree or not. We all know how many cameroonian graduates are willing to pursue graduate studies in the United states; we as well know how much an an international student is required to pay as tuition fees (huge sums of money that some parents in cameroon have never raised except for a few fraudulent ones). Some of the requisites to gain graduate admissions into US universities are results for the TOEFL and GRE. Some individuals may be willing to sit for this exams but may not be able to register for this exams. I know the cost of registration for TOEFL use to be about 82.500frs (about 125 US dollars). That seems to very liitle money per se but its a huge amount of money for an average cameroon family. Apart from the huge amounts of money for tuition fees, the next issue is what they called the bank statement. All of us how much you are asked to present in the embassy as money a parent or guarantor has to sponsor the future student. How many people have such amounts of money in cameroon? (lets put the doki BS made and signed in Bonamoussadi aside). Another financial issue issue is the application asked which you have to pay by credit card. Its just $50 for sume colleges, but how many cameroonians back in cameroon have credit cards assuming that you don't know amny one abroad who has one. The credit card becomes an ostentatious property. Summarily, thats the major reason why there are few cameroonian graduates studying in U.S State universities.

- The GPA issue is another problem. While some lecturers in Cameroon Universities do their best to instil knowledge unto the studenst and test them based on what they've though, there is this tendency of "future rivalry" where by lecturers want no predecessors, so exams/tests are given to challenge the innocent students. Whats the end result, poor results, low GPAs though few tough people still flourish based on the principle of the natural law (Charles Darwin's theory of Evolution).

- This blame shouldn't be that one one-sided. Its a shared issue where we also know of vey lazy studenst who think of nothing but to pass exams via fraud. In such a situation where during such exams, means is not available for examination malpractice, the results is bad results, series of Fs, low GPA.

- It should also be noted here that while there is this tendency of anouncing internationalization in Western Universities, there is also this necessity of western universities to make sure nationals/naturals are given the priority in graduate programs (whetheh you agree or not). As such there are usually limited places for international students. We all know the number of international students who apply for graduates degrees in US Universities every year and the limited places available. The end result is that very few candidates will be admitted, maybe non from Cameroon based on their creteria at that time.

- Another issue is late applications. Some institutions accept applicants not only on the quality of their cerfiticates but also on a first come first serve method, we know most cameroonians always apply a few days before the deadline. Application files finally get to the Universities' admissions offices after the deadlines (that is if they arrive at all) or disappear, a pheonomenom common in the Cameroon postal system (you can quote me here). this ends up in the applicant not finally being admitted.

- Another issue here is also the fact that even in cameroon, there is this tendency of individuals becoming school administrators, having their own registrar's offices at home and "waxing" the academic documents (transcripts, attestations etc) to even people who have never sat for theadvanced level, not to talk of going to the university. I know of people who got first class honours in Biology but who barely complete basic degree programs in Geography in UNIYAO I. The result is a strong degree on a weak individaul and a generalisation, weaklings from cameroon universities.

- I know someone would have to say here that there are scholarship programs here and there; but how many individuals can be offered there scholarships from all over the world let alone amongst the huge applicants from cameroon alone. Result; many applicants, one or two offers to cameroonians for the sake of equality with other nations. There are some graduate teaching and stippens here and there in US universities, but how much does that cover, would you be granted a visa cos of a stippen covering about 25% of your expenses???

I haven't exhausted all the points but based on this you can bear with me that financial constraints are the major limiting factor which limits the number of Cameroon graduates in US universities.

tayong

What a piece Kimbing!!
Mind-boggling and disturbing! Cameroon Universities and UB in particular should be made to read articles like these. This can be published in the official gazette of UB.I'll come back to this later but fellow UB graduates there's a way out at least for now while the outcry continues against the intellectual oligarchy in place.

Here is the deal: If you're a graduate from Cameroon before applying for admission abroad, take, 5 to 6 months , prepare for GRE or GMAT or SAT, get an unquestionable score say 1000 and above, attach this to your GCE results(whose grades are wonderful in most cases) , then make a good cover letter stating that your Bachelor degree didnt do you any justice(mind you, dont accuse anybody for that, concerned authorities understand what that means) and with the aforementioned results rest assured you will gain admission where you want.

Many have followed this advice and made it big time. Prof Kay, mentioned in this article was my professor in UB and in whose subject students performed outstandingly to the dismay of his Cameroonian boss who issued him a query! Rediculous isnt it gentlemen? He's doing a good job for Cameroonians in the USA.This was an advise from him.It works and has worked for many.

Our problems dont always emanate from some tyranical western civilizations always ready to put us at the lower scale of the "belt curve" but from the very rudiments of reverse development agents. Again friends let nothing stop your dreams, I mean nothing at all

Reverened

With due respect to your person I think you got it wrong or maybe gave unconvincing reasons for poor GPA's.Help me explain this ordeal. Can you purport a theory to back up the fact that a student with excellent GCE O and A results end up as mediocre at first degree? Laziness alone is unconvincing! Ok let's go by that at least. Now explain to the world how this same students would sit for International exams like GRE,GMAT ,TOEFL ,SAT(Scholastic aptitude Test) etc etc, outperform their western mates, even gets a scholarship and comes out with distinction at the end.Is it "juju" this time or the idiotic "superiority" of Cameroon education system to West's? If so what has the "superior" Cameroon system to show for its superiority?

I still personally think the enemy of the back race is the black race , no more no less. I might be wrong until you convince me enough that laziness is the course of low GPA's obtained by Cameroonian students at Universities. In any case lets pray and hope for the better for our education system

Cheers and good weekend
Tayong

tayong

..cause not course. these same not this same.

Ebonylad

I react to this as a victim of UB's grade stiffing policy specifically in the depatment of government by the early 2000s.My gratuating GPA was terribly low which affected my admission into first choice schools.However,I knew my personal potential and remained optimistic and labourous.At PG level in the EU,I excelled in accordance with my potential thereby stupifying the UB GPA scandal which has come to the knowledge of some schools even here in the EU.Those who deserve are being denied of,and those who don't deserve easily surge through when sex is exchanged or money.

All these are symptoms of poverty which has brought about,greed,jealousy,laziness,dishonesty,
corruption,promoscuity between students and teachers etc.

We need to fight against poverty as a starting point.
Ebonylad

Ngando

So what do we say when some UB students do not even know their GPA?
Can not calculate it?
Can not determine what it should be?
Do not even realise the the importance of having good grades?

By now, you are probably thinking; that's not possible. Next time you happen to speak with one, try to find out! And you'd be in for more than a surprise.

What do I see? I see this ... (how do they say it? 'Laisez faire'? 'don't care attitude'?) in plenty who all want a 'let-my-people-go' rule reign.

Unfortunately the likes of Prof Kay are not abound and so we may not have the good fortune of having them on every admission committee the world over. Instead of sitting here and calling names/pointing fingers, why don't we just tell these kids to crack the system; Let them know the importance of this GPA of a thing which I do not recall was ever mentioned during the orientation.

Bottom line, most students do not realise that their GPA is like their all and they just let it be what it can be instead of making it what it should be. Apparently some have been inspired to encourage excellence; a step ahead, like the cameroonfoundation.org. Keep it up guys

DR TAN

DEAR ALL.
HOW NICE TO READ THIS PIECE OF COMMENTRY OF A RESEARCH WORK.
I AM SO PROUD OF ALL OF THE POSTED COMMENTRIES. TO DO THIS YOU HAVE TO THINK AND POSSIBLY DO SOME FINDINGS TO SUPPORT YOUR POSITIONS AND INCLINATIONS.
THE AUTHOR COMPARED CAMEROON WITH OTHER PREDORMINANTLY ANLOPHONE AFRICAN NATIONS LIKE NIGERIA, AND GHANA.
HE OVERLOOKED THE FACT THAT THE IS 80 PERCENT OF CAMEROONIANS WHO ARE OUT OF THE DISCUSSION. MAY BE IT COULD BE SAID, [WHY THERE ARE FEW ANLOPHONE CAMEROONIAN GRADUATES IN AMERICAN UNIVERSITIES].
IF WE REDUCE IT TO THIS NEW STATEMENT, THEN COMPARATIVELY, THERE ARE NOT FEW INTERMS OF RATES.
WE ALL AGREE THAT FRANCOPHONES WHO MAKE MAJORITY OF CAMEROON POPULATION STUDY IN FRANCE, BELGIUM AND OTHER FRENCH COUNTRIES.
A LOT HAS BEEN BLAMED ON THE UNI VERSITIE S AND STUDENTS IN CAMEROON. WHEN DID THOSE UNIVERSITIES STARTED.
THIS IS AN EPISTEMIOLOGICAL DEBATEOR DISCUSSION, THAT HAS MANY APPROACHES, SURE THE AUTHOR HAS CERTAIN INTERESTS AS TO HIS POSITION, HOPE HE DOES NOT GET GET FRUSTRATED LATER.

DR TAN

WHILE I CONTINUE, I MAKE THIS CORRECTIONS,
ANGLOPHONE, NOT ANLOPHONE.
WHEN DID THOSE UNIVERSITIES GET STARTED.
I THINK CAMEROON HAS THE RESOURCES TO HAVE A STATE UNVERSITY IN ALL THE 10 PROVINCES TODAY.
A LOT OF GLORY IS GIEN TO WESTERN UNIVERSITIES THAT MOST TIMES ONLY BUILD ON A PERFECT BACHELOR FOUNDATION DONE BY AFRICAN UNIVERSITIES LIKE PROF NGUH AND UNIVERSITY OF IBADAN MEDICAL SCHOOL
GRADUATE WORK MOST TIMES IS DEPENDENT ON STUDENT ABILITY TO CONDUCT RESEARCH.
SOCIAL SCIENCES DO NOT NEED A LOT OF WESTERN GRADUATE FORMATION.
AS OF TODAY AFRICA,S NEED IS THECNOLOGICAL.

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