[Thought Piece] Transforming higher education – the sure road, yet less traveled: sharing experiences from The University of Bamenda

Prof. Theresia Nkuo-Akenji,
Vice Chancellor, University of
Bamenda, Cameroon

The issues surrounding higher education across the African continent are numerous and include relevance, access, gender balance, massification, underfunding and brain drain. While the societal needs are rapidly changing, Universities are also adapting by making alterations to management regimes, curriculum content and relevance in training programs in order to meet the expectations of the job market and leverage the students with the capacity to build and run start-ups. This is not a straightforward task as it is fraught with a number of threats and challenges. In this piece I share the experiences at the University of Bamenda since it embarked on transformation activities three years ago. Bear in mind that The University was only established in 2010 and went operational in 2011!

Transformation strategies at The University of Bamenda
The University of Bamenda is a public institution funded largely by the State through the national treasury. Transforming it therefore means that the principal actors must have a grasp of national policies and development priority domains to have traction among the stakeholders. The first step we took was to develop the Strategic Development Plan (SDP) of the institution to cover the period upto 2025. This SDP encompasses the projected growth trajectory of the institution aligned to the national development plan of Cameroon. The SDP was elaborated to mobilize various government departments including the Ministry of the Economy, Planning and Development, Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Higher Education. At the Town Hall event in the capital city of Yaoundé where the plan was unveiled, the University invited Cameroon’s Development Partners and all echelons of the State political apparatus. This politicking gave the SDP a resounding approval and its content laid bare for potential strategic partners of the institution to exploit. This, coupled with the leading role the University played in elaborating the national contribution of Cameroon towards the World Food Summit 2021, opened inroads for the institution into the centre of decision making at the highest levels including the Ministry of Agriculture. This is also reflected in the relatively convincing ease with which the Cameroon Government signed the RUFORUM Charter brought forth by this writer following clearance from the Presidency of the Republic. The SDP is the institution’s guiding compass. The present SDP has a number of features that guarantee the transformational ambitions of the institution and these are: Read more here

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