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“What next after the euphoria of graduation?”
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“What next after the euphoria of graduation?”

Alphonse AkouyuThe first class has graduated from the Catholic University of Cameroon Bamenda, writes  Alphonse Akouyu, 19, a Correspondent from Bamenda, Cameroon. It’s a time of celebration for the university and students alike, but both groups face challenges as they strive for continued success. 

The sights and sounds of the Catholic University of Cameroon Bamenda (CATUC) are already spectacular but on Friday December 6th 2013, they became even more spectacular as the university sent out its first batch of  undergraduates students from the Faculties of Business Management, Science, Humanities and Social Sciences.

CATUC opened its doors to students in October of 2010 and three years later the first fruits of this institution are now ripe and ready for consumption by different sectors of the corporate world. Even before producing 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 call for concern. First the land on which this citadel of education is to be built is under dispute. As local media has reported   http://www.modernghana.com/news/466556/1/bamenda-court-ascertains-mbororo-occupancy-of-prop.html, this delay is causing serious shortages of classrooms as the school struggles to deal with its ever-growing population of students who value Catholic education at a higher level.

Secondly, Vice Chancellor Fr. Michael Suh Niba must surely be a busy man after the school for training Medical Doctors was shut down by the government, frustrating a good number of students.

Very few university officials have commented on the closure of the school but a very concerned Vice Chancellor, 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 closure. He made the plea not only in his institution but in Cameroon as a whole, and for those who are going to decide their faith. Many 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 four years without a recognized student union is beginning to raise eyebrows, and many students are wondering why the school authorities are taking time to ensure a student union is established. 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 are the main reason why – as they put it – “the school is afraid of establishing this vital organ”.

These and others are just some of the issues disturbing the young institution. Supporters and sympathizers of the young institution tell me it’s a case of “Rome was not built in one day”.

It was Friday December 6th 2013, the D-day and the small ceremonial grounds of CATUC were filled to capacity. Friends, fellow students, varsity Dons, family members, those related to the institution in one way or the other and invitees were there to make their presence felt. It was a colourful ceremony and the robes of the graduates told the story – the joy of having spent three years successfully in various disciplines and being worthy of the certificates. Various speakers on the occasion 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 fields, and the job market in Cameroon can contain just a very minute portion of those graduates.

Parents and employers have never doubted the quality of Catholic education in Cameroon. That is why the school’s enrollment within the last four years has been on the rise. Yet two questions are relevant here: can this first batch of CATUCIANS compete with the ever changing and demanding requirements of the corporate world?  And 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? Many graduates tell me they regard these questions as a task, and that they would do all within their reach to prove their doubters wrong.

Only time will tell, and for some of their school mates who were not privileged to wear the robes of honour, it’s time for them to go back to the drawing board to have a rethink of life. For the others its boils down to the question: what next after all the feasting and graduation euphoria is over?  

photo credit: Shreyans Bhansali via photopin cc

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About me:

Hello everyone this is your friend Akouyu Alphonse from Bamenda located in the North West Region of Cameroon. I’m currently in my last year in the Catholic University of Cameroon Bamenda studying Banking and Finance. I will be completing my studies in June of 2014 with the hope of becoming a Business/International Relations expert.

My areas of interest are serving as Journalist especially on Sports (football) and societal issues aimed at inspiring people to believe in themselves and volunteerism.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit:
http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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