7:05pm Bamenda, Cameroon.
Sights and sounds of the Catholic University of Cameroon, Bamenda (CATUC) staged spectacular trends with undergraduates earning their first academic degree. It was a colourful ceremony and the robes of the graduates told the story, the joy of having spent 3years successfully in various disciplines and being worthy of the certificates. Various speakers on the occasions called on them to let the light of CATUC shine in all they do and to be worthy ambassadors of the institution. Most of the cameras turned towards three students who scored First Class Honours in English, Accounting and Geography respectively. As most of them leave CATUC, the question arises what next, taking in to consideration the fact that, many institutions are sending out thousands of students each year in the same field and the job market in Cameroon can contain just a very minute portion.
Ripe and ready for the job market on mark out distinction ceremony (The University sent out its first batch of degree holders from the Faculties of Business Management, Science, Humanities and Social Sciences), Friday December 6th 2013, they promised to show virtuosity in the different sectors of the cooperate world. Even before these graduates, the institution was already making its mark as a real city of wisdom with its former registrar Fr. Andrew Nkea, now Bishop Andrew Nkea being appointed as assistant Bishop for the Diocese of Mamfe. Just like any young institution struggling to find its feet in the world of higher education, CATUC has its own internal issues which really calls for concern.
Sure sources say the land on which this citadel of education is to be built is under dispute (www.modernghana.com/news/466556/1/bamenda-court-ascertains-mbororo-occupancy-of-prop.html). The delay is causing serious shortages of classrooms as the school struggles to deal with its ever growing population who value Catholic education at a higher level. Secondly, it would appear Vice Chancellor Fr. Michael Suh Niba is as busy as a beehive man following the closure of the Medical Doctors' training institution. An act that left a good number of students in frustration.
Reports however say that a few university officials have reacted on the shutdown of the school. The very concerned VC during the mass of the school’s first semester recollection on Wednesday November 27th 2013, called on the congregation to pray for the students affected by the winding up. Many have interpreted his statement to mean something good is around the corner, but for how long are these students going to wait? The school has not abandoned them on their own but fitted some in to various departments in the Faculty of Science while others have decided to pursue their dream elsewhere. Running such a high profile institution for 4years without a recognized student union is beginning to raise eyebrows and many students are wondering why the school authorities are taking time to do so.
On this particular issue, it’s the blame game both sides are playing, some students are of the opinion that the activities of the Student Union in the biggest Anglo-Saxon university in the country, is the main reason why as they put it ’the school is afraid of establishing this vital organ’.
In the midst of joy & uncertainty, Parents and employers refuse to doubt the quality of the Catholic Education in Cameroon; the reason why the school’s enrollment within the last Four years has been on the rise. Two questions are relevant here; Can this first batch of 'CATUCIANS' compete with the ever changing and demanding requirements of the cooperate world? Secondly with the quality training CATUC says she is offering, can they also compete and defeat their friends in the same disciplines from other institutions? A task which many tell me, they would do all within their reach to prove those who doubt them, wrong.