My wife and I traveled to Cameroon in April this year to visit friends that we had made on a trip in 2010. Being our second trip to Cameroon, we saw different aspects of the country than we had previously not seen. The following is a brief description of how we perceived the cultural and political environment in Cameroon and the effect it is having on the prospects of economic growth, democracy and education.
In this post, I look at education in Cameroon.
In school as a small child, we always read about how African children did not go to school, had no books, and no running water. I felt sorry for them. Upon visiting Cameroon, my opinions changed. Many, if not most, children now go to school, have at least some limited access to books, and the availability of safe drinking water is much better than I anticipated.
Yet, when you compare the resources available to American or European children today, the Cameroonian children are dirt-broke. Western children now have access to internet at school and most of them have access to internet at home. Books are just flowing over the shelves in American schools, and sadly a lot of the books are thrown out without ever being opened!
In Cameroon, when my wife and I bring a book to share with children, the book is used over and over and over and over. The children are so enthralled with the learning experience that it makes me ashamed.
I am ashamed that my fellow American citizens do not appreciate the vast educational resources the Western world has to offer. The majority of my classmates in public schools and university were lazy! They didn’t care about what they were learning, nor did they appreciate the fact that they were blessed with the opportunity to simply learn. All they cared about was how much money they would make upon graduation.
In Cameroon, many of the children that go to school are so incredibly brilliant and motivated.
If I were a business owner, I would know where to recruit young talent.
Yes, Cameroon has many improvements to make in the education system , such as better teacher-training, however, the motivation and desire to learn that is shared by so many children in Cameroon is something that American children could stand to learn.
With more and more resources for learning arriving in Cameroon every day, I believe Cameroonians will become a force to reckon with.
Cameroon is a country full of enormous potential. Yes, the economy is held back by greed and poor government. Yes, democracy is still in its infancy. And yes, the educational system lacks many necessary resources. However, the culture of hard work, love of neighbors, and aspiration of greatness leaves the country in a position to only become better.