Cameroon – Higher Education: Re-sit exams kick-off in UB despite lecturers’ appeal for postponement

Par Atia T. AZOHNWI | Cameroon-Info.Net
BUEA - 03-Sep-2019 - 12h05   5767                      
University of Buea Archives
Re-sit examinations have taken off at the University of Buea, UB, Tuesday, September 3, 2019 despite an appeal for postponement that came from the National Union of Teachers of Higher Education, SYNES UB chapter.

The unionists had on September 1, 2019 said re-sit examinations programmed to take place from September 3-11, 2019 may be a life-threatening exercise given the prevailing security context.

Their observations were addressed to the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buea, UB, in a letter signed by the Union’s President, Professor James Abangma and Vice President, Professor Martin Sango. The letter is titled, “Re: the organisation of re-sit examination for the 2018/2019 academic year”.

The lecturers say their position was the outcome of an extraordinary executive meeting of SYNES UB Saturday, August 31, 2019 that assessed and evaluated the situation of payments in the University of Buea and the timing of the 2019 re-sit examinations.

“The Executive members observed that in spite of the excellent diagnosis of the financial situation of the university and mouth-watering promises made by the Vice-Chancellor, the gap between reality and rhetoric is yet to be closed,” the letter read in part.

It adds that: “Secondly, the executive members raised very serious concerns concerning the security of staff on campus with regards to the upcoming re-sit examinations…Given the kidnapping of some staff of the University of Buea, and the various threats others have been receiving from some unknown persons, the Executive of SYNES UB Chapter avers that organising re-sit under these circumstances is a calculated attempt to use the staff as guinea pig for some experiment.”

In view of the above, the executive of SYNES Buea Chapter decides as follows:

“That given the deplorable financial situation of Lecturers, as most of them have now left their houses and are renting, it will not be worthwhile risking their lives; that given the hostile socio-political climate in the region, it is not possible for re-sit exams to take place now; that writing the re-sit examination in the present circumstances is a life-threatening exercise;

“That the administration of the University of Buea should ensure that staff are comfortable financially by expediting payments of bonuses owed them; and that the executive of SYNES UB Chapter makes a passionate appeal to the administration of the University of Buea to look for a more appropriate and conducive date for the re-sit examinations.”


UB Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ngomo Horace Manga replies SYNES

In a statement that went viral on social media Monday, September 2, 2019, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buea, Prof. Ngomo Horace Manga ruled that the re-sit examinations will proceed as planned in respect of a Senate resolution.

The Vice-Chancellor wrote: “While appreciating the concern and expressed fears of SYNES on the climate of insecurity, we should remind ourselves that we have operated in this climate for the past three years and have from time to time adjusted our Calendars, at the institutional and personal levels, to ensure our academic and research activities respond to the exigencies of quality assurance.

“Hence, thriving with our students in this climate is not new or news. It is no excuse for the Re-sit exams not to hold. I urge everyone; teachers and students concerned with Re-sit to show up for the exams, starting September 3, 2019. The forces of LAW and order will be called upon to ensure security on campus.

“Please, let's not make Lockdowns sound like a SENATE RESOLUTION.  I will advise militant SYNES members, to fight off the temptation to enforce compliance with their action with the distribution of tracts, as some have done in the past. I invite the Heads of Establishments to ensure that their HoDs are mobilized for the Resit Exam starting.

“We all want to proceed on vacation! I am sure our students too have had enough of a seemingly unending Semester! In addition, students need their degrees as soon as possible to seat for public exams or to do other things. It's unfair and unacceptable to generate another alibi to keep them here, at a huge cost to their parents and guardians. SYNES should allow the University authorities to make their own judgment on the response of the University community to the commencement of the Re-sit Exams on the SCHEDULED date!”

On the issue of emoluments, Prof. Ngomo said: “I share the anxieties and difficulties of delays in payments of emoluments. Unfortunately, it is no fault of the University management. My recent message to SYNES executive, on this subject, when I invited them for an audience, was that the documentary financial transfers had been made to the Establishments, but that liquidity deficits at the Treasury held back the material transfers into their Accounts.

“The good news is that upon verification with the Accounting Officer yesterday, 1/9/2019, the accounts of the following Establishments received funds transfers (Friday or Thursday, 29 and 30 August). They are; FSMS, FED, FET, ASTI ( from MTN), and HTTTC. The Heads of these Establishments may probably not be aware. I will urge them to prioritize payment of emoluments to teachers. More funds transfers are planned this week for the other Establishments. The TPG is in Yaoundé where he went to lobby for more payment authorizations to his treasury, in the light of the back2school pressure on parents.

“UB re-sit exams will proceed as scheduled by Senate from the 3rd to 10th September, 2019.

“On a final note, the deliberate attempt by SYNES to condition the resolution of issues clearly out of the purview and mandate of the authority of the University of Buea is not helpful to the sustenance of the peace and serenity on campus which we, (including SYNES), have collectively worked for. The consequences of any postponement will be very disruptive to our Calendar.

“I need to add that for students whose courses have not all been uploaded; do not panic, register on what is available and special arrangements will be made for the others. Eventually, they will be approved executively, if the scores do not feature in the Re-sit SENATE meeting.”


SYNES President fires back!

The President of SYNES-UB, Prof. James Abangma in reaction to the Vice-Chancellor’s outing said lecturers will continue to give utmost attention to their personal safety.

His words: “It is in the interest of SYNES to assess the impact of certain actions on campus and act accordingly. We either choose to make ourselves enemies because we want to comply with some experiment being carried out on us, or say no for our safety. We all are responsible for our personal safety, campus safety is not enough. We have survived so far because we were cautious. Many have paid so dearly to get to where we are and to minimize the burden we are called upon not only to act wisely but give the utmost attention to our personal safety, being the vulnerable as we are in the world of arms.”


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