UBa: Masters degree students threaten protest

Students at the masters level in the Higher Institute of Commerce and Management (HICM) at the University of Bamenda in the North West region of Cameroon are considering taking “aggressive steps” to push the school administration, to organize academic defense sessions for them.

One of the disgruntled students who spoke to Mimi Mefo Info on the bases of anonymity says the wait has been a long. “I and my course mates enrolled for the two-year master program in the department of marketing in 2016. Since then, we have completed all our academic and financial obligations yet the administration has not organized the defense,” he said.

According to our source, on several occasions, the Department of Marketing HICM has programmed and postponed the defense session without any tangible reason advanced. “Our plights have simply been ignored,” he continued.

“Sometimes they will set the date for the defense and when we travel to Bambili from different towns and villages in Cameroon, nothing ends up taking place. When it happens as such, we will write messages to the HICM Marketing Head of Department – HOD, Dr. Ndam Mama but he will neither answer our calls nor reply to the messages. This is frustrating for us and for me in particular,” retorted our source.

Contacted on phone to react to these claims from the students, Dr. Ndam directed us to his hierarchy. “Mr journalist you should contact the director of the school of Higher Institute of Management and commerce to answer your questions”. By saying this, the university denied commenting further on the issue of why eighteen master students of his department have not defended their thesis.

To the students, the high cost of living in Bambili couple with the level of insecurity in the town, which is closer to Bamenda, has been an additional burden on them and their families. “Some of my course mates are leaving in different towns in Cameroon and coming to Bambili frequently for fake defense dates is a problem”.

In addition to the financial burden incurred as a result of the delay, the students are decrying the fact they are forced to pay fees each academic year “…for unnecessary delays caused by the school administration and not us the students.”

To the students, they want an immediate organization of defense session this month of September to ensure their graduation in December 2020.

Reacting to the complaints of the students, the director of the Higher Institute of Commerce and Management (HICM) says they are two major reasons why the students who enrolled since 2016 have not defended their thesis. To Prof Njimated Godfrey Forgah: “Insecurity in Bambili in particular and the North West region, in general, has made some of these students not to be consistent in attaining lectures and other academic works. So we decided that it will be needless to led students that have not acquired enough knowledge to defend Secondly, during the pre-defense, some of the thesis from the students were poorly written and did not reflect the standard set for the University of Bamenda(UBa). The panel made corrections”.

The administration of the University of Bamenda is equally accusing some of the 18 master’s degree students in the department of Marketing in HICM of unnecessarily in a haste to defend when they have not completed the university requirements.

“There is no need for these students to complain when they know they have not completed all the stages required by master students before going for defense which is the last stage before graduation. When the students will be done with all the requirements, I will write to the director of academic affairs who shall intend forward to the deputy vice-chancellor in charge of teaching and finally to the vice-chancellor that has the sole responsibility of programming academic defense,” Professor Njimate added.

He stresses on the fact that no Head of Department has a right to schedule students to defend except the Vice-Chancellor.

Students, however, insist the department has failed in the aspect of organization – which explains why Professor Njimated was appointed in 2019 to address the key issues and ensure that the activities of students monitored and dates of defense to be respected. No major changes can be seen, students of the institution told MMI.

(C) Mimi Mefo Info.