Higher Education in Cameroon

Like many developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Cameroon is facing challenges in its higher education. Higher education in Cameroon is under-developed, in particular, in the science and technology fields. According to the World Bank, Cameroon’s public spending on education was 3.2 percent of GDP in 2011.

Reflecting on the state of higher education in Africa, Alabi and Mba (2012) noted that the reasons are a disconnect with the needs and skill demands of the economy, no critical mass of quality faculty, insufficient sustainable financing, and shortcomings in governance and leadership.

Broadly speaking, in Cameroon, higher education can be divided into university and higher professional education, and classroom instruction is provided in both English and French. High school students have to complete an entrance examination – i.e. a baccalauréat for the French system and a general certificate of education (advanced level) for English students, before gaining access to university education. Cameroon seems to have a comprehensive and coherent national higher education policy.

However, in general terms, I think there is a lack of a transformative narrative to effect change both within the government and academic community. Improving the nation’s higher education system is an essential but complex challenge. I believe bold ideas are needed to tackle the toughest challenges facing Cameroon’s higher education system.