Barry McNamara  |   Published July 13, 2016

Badang’s book

Monmouth professor writes about need for education reforms in Cameroon
  • Monmouth College’s Germain Badang (an assistant professor of modern languages, literatures and cultures) holds his recently published book on Cameroon’s education system.
Cameroon’s educational system needs structural and conceptual reforms.

That’s the conclusion of a new book written by Monmouth College’s Germain Badang, who is an assistant professor of modern languages, literatures and cultures.

“Since Cameroon gained its independence (in 1960), its educational system has not been able to effectively contribute to the social and individual development of Cameroonians,” said Badang, who completed his undergraduate work at the University of Yaounde in Cameroon.

Titled Perspectives on Teachers’ Decision-Making in Post-Colonial Cameroon, the 269-page paperback, which grew out of his doctoral dissertation at Ohio State University, was published this year by Lambert Academic Publishing.

In researching the book about his native West African country, Badang spoke to six educators in rural and urban areas through surveys, interviews and online group discussions. He also had access to historic colonial and post-colonial documents about Cameroon’s educational system.

“The findings suggest that the curriculum in Cameroon is very centralized and reflects a strong Western content,” he said. “The findings also indicate that there is a lack of indigenous voice in the social studies curriculum. Teachers in Cameroon tend not to engage in critical decision-making when they teach issues about Cameroon and about the world.”

Badang writes that there are many reasons for that: frustration with the school system, an overwhelming centralized curriculum, lack of support and poor infrastructures. He also writes that teachers contribute to the problem, especially their lack of confidence about their knowledge, the extroverted curriculum, and “their choice not to critically reject the inherited colonial status quo.”

Badang observes in the book that the unquestioned use of an imported knowledge has turned the people in Cameroon into “passive entities who have developed the false impression that the solution to their problems should come from overseas.”

“Thus,” he concluded, “the educational system inherited from colonization has displaced the people from their intrinsic cultural practices, because that knowledge has not allowed them to transform their environment and thus create opportunities for a sustainable development by and for the people in Cameroon. This explains why an urgent reform is needed.”
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