Interview: “UBa Offers Attractive Professional Training, Courses”
Prof. Theressa Nkuo-Akenji, Vice Chancellor, University of Bamenda, talks on the professionalisation drive in the 2016/2017 academic year.
How ready is the University of Bamenda for professionalisation in the 2016/2017 academic year?
In spite of challenges of infrastructure and shortage of lecturers, the University of Bamenda, UBa, is poised to keep moving forward. The academic year is already effective, especially in our professional schools, while admission procedures will soon be completed for classes to resume in the faculties. The university will handle about 19,000 students in 2016/2017; meanwhile, our lecture theatres, classrooms, etc, offer only 10,500 seats.
This challenge is not peculiar to the State University of Bamenda. We pay tribute to some people of goodwill people and institutions for offering space, some of which we have refurbished. The Development Fund of the University of Bamenda is also around as a major plus. They plan to construct a lecture block of about 950 seats and other smaller classrooms. We also face acute shortage of staff and the few, including support staff, are overworked. All our schools and faculties need 1,000 lecturers to reach a near ideal level.
Are there any innovations envisaged in the new academic year in terms of professional training?
We expect to launch Post-graduate Programmes in all the departments of the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Economics and Management Sciences. This comes to add to Post-graduate programmes already offered by the Higher Institute of Commerce and Management.
In barely five years of existence, the University of Bamenda now mentors many private higher institutions of learning. How do you explain the rush for your programmes?
I should say that the University of Bamenda has very attractive professional courses and programmes. We already mentor 20 private higher institutions of learning - two in Bambui, five in Bamenda, one in Bafoussam, three in Buea, one in Douala and six in Yaounde. They need our attractive professional programmes and courses, but we are thinking of slowing down to give our lecturers more time to effectively monitor and carry on with their already huge work load at the University of Bamenda.
The mentorship programmes have also been inspired by our third mission goal, which is outreach and service to the community. Collaboration between universities and other public or private institutions has always been mutually beneficial and needs to be encouraged.