The right to education has been hailed as mankind’s most precious possession in the twenty-first century. As per Article thirteen of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (January 3, 1976), it is the responsibility of the State to recognize and ensure the implementation of the right to education. However, recognizing that states alone may not be able to accomplish this, coordinated efforts with community and private organizations have been put in place. In Cameroon, private institutions have been authorized by the state to offer educational, academic, and professional training to citizens. Unfortunately, some of these private institutions do not always respect their students’ rights to education. Thus, leading to violations of the right to quality education in an academic context.
Factors Hindering Quality Education in Bafoussam, Cameroon
The government and stakeholders of education in Bafoussam, Cameroon are working around to improve the educational standards for its citizens. However, a number of factors are drawing them to hitting their target. These include, denial of access to educational services, Poor Teaching MethodQuality in Some private iinstitutes of higher education (IPES), Incompetence of some Academic Administrative Staff and some teachers.
One of the violations observed is the denial of access to educational services. However, this is not the only infraction of the broader right to education. Poor teaching method also constitutes a significant violation of this right. In the academic institutions of Bafoussam, Cameroon, this violation is particularly evident in certain Private institutes of Higher education (IPES). The poor teaching method can be attributed to the incompetence of the academic administrative staff as well as that of the teachers . Furthermore, this violation is closely linked to the lack of state control over the academic activities of these institutes .
The Factors contributing to Violation of Educational Rights in Bafoussam, explained below
A. The Poor Teaching Method in Some IPES. This issue arises due to the incompetence of both the academic administrative staff and the teachers .
In some IPES in the city of Bafoussam, the academic administrative staff responsible for recruitment, programming, and teacher assessment display a concerning level of incompetence. For instance, it is not uncommon to witness an agronomy specialist being recruited as a homeroom or principal teacher of Territorial Collective Administration (ACT), responsible for teaching subjects related to public law. Additionally, oversight of teachers and their classes is practically nonexistent in these institutes. Many teachers fail to deliver adequate instruction. Some spend most of their time telling stories to students, while others provide plagiarized content that even they cannot explain. These individuals act with impunity due to the absence of oversight or, in rare cases, face consequences only when they become personal enemies of those responsible for teacher supervision.
In certain IPES, teachers lacking qualifications in the subjects they are expected to teach contribute to the poor teaching method. For instance, an agronomy specialist should not be considered qualified to teach all subjects related to territorial authorities at an advanced level, particularly when the decentralized structures of the State are involved. Nevertheless, such situations are prevalent in some IPES in Bafoussam. Consequently, these teachers instruct classes for which they have neither conceived the content nor possess a comprehensive understanding. Plagiarism runs rampant, and close relationships with higher-level academic authorities shield these teachers from any form of sanction or reprimand. Ultimately, this practice leads to amateurs instructing students who aspire to become professionals, a clear contradiction in terms.
- The Failure of State Oversight
The duty of maintaining quality control in higher education rests with the State). Regrettably, this duty is inadequately fulfilled in the city of Bafoussam .
2. The State’s Duty to Oversee IPES
The right to education, as a fundamental right, necessitates the intervention of the State for its protection. The State is responsible for guaranteeing its citizens the right to education, which includes access to educational institutions and a quality education. In this regard, the State exercises control over IPES to ensure an acceptable standard of teaching in these establishments.
B. Limitations on control in the town of Bafoussam
Limited Oversight in the City of Bafoussam is partly to be blamed for poor educational quality. The poor teaching method observed in some IPES in Bafoussam is partly due to the lack of effective state quality control. On-site visits are infrequent, resulting in limited oversight. Furthermore, electronic communication with the Ministry of Higher Education is challenging, if not impossible. The inability to report glaring issues observed in IPES hampers the Ministry’s ability to exercise effective oversight.
In summary, certain IPES in the city of Bafoussam violate the right to education. The poor educational quality found in these institutions can be directly attributed to the lack of state oversight. To address these shortcomings, the Cameroonian government must reevaluate and enhance its oversight system to ensure a higher standard of education and uphold the right to education for all. However, the roles of IPES in the country cannot be understated. Hence, the government must assist the IPES in developing standards that promote quality education.
Translated by: Maggie Wilcox