|Jacques Fame Ndongo|
Panic grips proprietors of illegal private higher institutions
By Njodzefe Nestor in Bamenda
The Minster of Higher Education who doubles as Chancellor of Academic Orders, Jacques Fame Ndongo has announced that investigations are ongoing at his ministry “to verify the accreditation status of Private Higher Education Institutions all over the national territory”. This is contained in a press release signed on August 23, 2016.
Proprietors of Private Higher Institutions in the North West that have been operating without authorization are reportedly having sleepless nights as the MINSUP boss is vehement that “anyone caught acting ultra vires shall be summoned to appear in front of the Ethics sub-committee of the National Commission for Private Higher Education in Cameroon for appropriate sanctions”.
MINSUP has also advised candidates wishing to register into any Private Higher Education Institution in Cameroon “to always verify the accreditation status of the Institution concerned at the website of the Ministry of Higher Education at www.minesup.gov.cm”•
According to a source at the secretariat of the National Commission for Private Higher Education in Cameroon, of the over the 43 Private Higher Institutions existing in the North West region, only 18 are legally operating.
There are three broad categories of unaccredited institutions with most being satellite or offshoot campuses of parent universities mostly based in the USA, Canada and UK.
After the warning, it is reported that many proprietors have now initiated the accreditation process by frequenting “Yaounde” with their files. But many others are still dragging their feet, believing that Fame Ndongo’s warning is just another “empty threats”.
DrNeba John, a lecturer at the University of Bamenda, claims that owners of private institutions believe it would be difficult on humanitarian grounds for government to close them down once students were in their penultimate year of study: "Government must not accept this blackmail," DrNeba John advised.
Although the decision to probe on Private Higher Institutions has been seen as a stitch in time to bring order to the cacophony that has been in the domain for some time, many are those who are questioning why it took so long for MINSUP to react or why MINSUP allowed them to function in the first place.
Order No. 01/0096/MINESUP of 7 December 2001 to lay down conditions for the setting-up and functioning of private higher education institutions states that the proprietor of a school should present at each stage of the setting-up process a file which enables him, if all the required conditions are fulfilled, to gradually obtain an authorization to set up an institution, an authorization to open it, to operate it (on the basis of a final approval) or to extend it.