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In my department ( Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Buea), doing the news for at least a week is a compulsory part of our training. Either as reporters or producers. During this ‘newsweek‘ we cover events on campus, in the region, the nation and in the world. The News goes on air from Monday to Friday at 6pm. Every Saturday, there is a News Magazine– a compilation of all the major news stories during the week. Additionally, the News Magazine carries a Press Review and an Editorial, written and read by the producer for that newsweek. During mine, I was the producer. It took place in the week that followed the 11th of February dubbed the ‘Youth Day’. My editorial focused on the speech our president gave this year and my suggestion on what we should be taught in ‘institutions of higher learning’. Who am I to suggest? What qualification do I have?
Honestly, I am not qualified. But I can’t sit and watch either.
On the 11 of February every year, the president of the nation addresses the youth…
In this year’s address, what struck a cord of agreement with many, was the degree of unemployment in our country. Especially given the strides taken by the government in the form of actions through the National Employment Fund.
My interest, however, was piqued when the president acknowledged the need from radical reform in our educational system. He and I agree when he says: ” There is the need for professional education”.
Now, for four days last week, a symposium themed: “Perspective of inclusive education in West and Central Africa with multidisciplinary focus”, took place in the Dorothy Limunga Njeuma Amphitheatre of the University of Buea. This week’s news crew followed the event all through. I was particularly interested again when one of the participants expressed his lack of faith in the symposium because of the lack of key actors in the education sector at that gathering.
My worries the following:
1. Why can “professionals” afford to be absent from “professional” trainings like the said symposium?
2.Who will employ the youth and
3. When will we have the educational overhaul we so badly need?
Today is exactly 2 months since the president made his speech. And, in approximately 9 months a horde of 3000 plus job seekers will be pumped into the unemployment garden fondly termed “Chomencam” (Chomage( Unemployment) du Cameroun).
3000 JOB SEEKERS
I stress on job seekers because that is what I feel the University milieu provides as training to the the Cameroonian minds.
Rich in theory, inadequate in character and practice, and worse, White collar job addicts.
How can an educational reform take place when departments offering “professional” training are understaffed? When admission requirements are malleable and teaching is more or less cosmetic?
How can we be trained as proessionals when the tools we need to master our trade are depreciated, undermaintained , and the lecturers are either under-used for their true potential or overwhelmed by work?
How can WE be ready for a job market when the handwriting on the wall is clear but ‘everyone’ seems to either myopic or, like me, astigmatic:
THERE IS NO JOB MARKET.
( Note: I sought data to prove this . All I found was outdated databases
. If you have sources , I would be very grateful).
The only way I see unemployment reducing is the day High School students realise the University is NOT supposed to train you to seek jobs but to make them. However, when I go through my rich educational curricullum and course outlines, I don’t find any course titled REALITY 101.
The Course and course of the Future
All students, lecturers and professors need this course. Here is my suggestion for the content of this ‘Inclusive and Exclusive’ University Requirement. In fact eh, high school students should be allowed to attend as well.
Course Code: Reality 101
Course Title: Dear Youth, Don’t Seek Jobs. Create Jobs
Lesson 1: The Job Market is Saturated
Lesson 2: Your Country Needs You.
Lesson 4: Time Waits For Nobody
The course, of course, will be spread throughout Students’ University Years. With no credit value because anyone who passes this course would have created jobs.
Anyone who fails, well…would work for those who passed.
The educational reform we need is going to happen whether we want it or not. Maybe in 2035.
Use of Buzz word. Check.
But multiply 3000 by each year we waste by and that is the same number of young, ambitious and energy fillled Cameroonian minds we waste.
We don’t need the 11th of February to be reminded we need jobs.
What we need is REALITY 101.