Walter Wilson Nana
The professionalisation of the higher education sector in Cameroon via the establishment of permanent partnership between the Universities and Business Enterprises is a preoccupying issue. Initiated by the Ministry of Higher Education and hosted by the University of Buea, UB, recently, UB’s Vice Chancellor, Dr. Nalova Lyonga found the University – Business World Partnership Forum worthy, timely and relevant for the development of the country.
The UB VC noted that her university stands to benefit a lot as well as all the universities in Cameroon. “What we are talking about is a change of approach. Before now, the teacher of
the university used to be as a breed apart; someone who knew so much, without the others knowing. And so university people were too far apart from the community. Now, there had to be a change.”
She explained the shift in trends saying; “The university cannot continue like this. The university have to be close to the people, the community and that is what we are picking out of this partnership. People now know the university and the university knows the community. We
have taken the BMP; Bachelor – Master – PhD system from Europe and made it Cameroonian. Our country is benefiting from that.”
Dr. Nalova Lyonga was upbeat with the partnership, adding that it is an opportunity to do more. “We are going to do more professional programmes in the University of Buea and other universities across the country. The community factor is extremely important in the way we tailor our programmes. UB is doing great
with the fisheries project. We are now training experts from the field, from various communities to do fishing and integrated farming; poultry, piggery and more. We are not limited to people in the UB community of Molyko, we have people coming from Muyuka and subsequently extend as much as we can. When we have people who are trained to do all these, then our economy will blossom.”
She will be corroborated by UB’s Deputy Vice Chancellor of Research, Cooperation and Relations with the Business World,
Prof. Victor Julius Ngoh, who mentioned that the Ministry of Higher Education is drawing inspiration from the law of April 16 2001, which is out to implement the principle of one student, one job and one enterprise.
Prof Ngoh advised varsity graduates to not only seek for jobs but they should create more jobs, saying UB has prepared that premise by engaging into many MOUs and partnerships with some private institutions, the industrial sector and other higher institutions of learning.
From the Cameroon Development Corporation, CDC, Director of Planning and Development, Zachee Dissoh Hell indicated that CDC needs UB for their wellbeing and growth, while highlighting the area of research. “So far, we have a successful partnership with UB. We are improving and need the university to come on as much as possible. They have the knowledge to solve the problems we have on the field,” he said.
Dissoh mentioned that the CDC Research Department is working hand-in-glove with UB to give solutions to their problems.
Alphonse Shang Samoa, Branch Manager, Ecobank Buea saw in their partnership with UB a win-win. “As a financial institution we have to assist the institutions of the nation and pursue our corporate responsibilities. We will give financial incentives to business operators and partners of the university so that they can move on with their activities in UB, while looking forward to our payments from UB via our bank. We are also committed to training deserving students from UB, we now have an ATM machine on campus, a second one will be placed at the entrance of the campus and lot more in the package will be unfolding progressively.”
Shang said the partnership is also about taking academia and research forward as both institutions share knowledge on research activities, especially in the domain of banking, management and accountancy.
Emmanuel Babila Tafon, UB student in the Department of Banking and Finance embraced the new trend of professionalising education in Cameroon but will quickly note that the student body is yet to be fully involved. “Let the recommendations after the forum be fully implemented so that the student body can be abreast with what is happening.”