This chapter outlines the methodological considerations of the project.
2.1. Structure of the project
This chapter intends to guide the researcher and the readers by making the content of the various chapters to serve as the summary of the project, as it gives us a brief insight of what each chapter is all about both in terms of structure and in function.
This chapter brings out the historical background of the study and presented Cameroon educational background from pre-colonial era to the post-colonial era. It further justifies the origin on why Cameroon currently exists under the two educational subsystems she finds herself today. A historical background of the educational system and current challenges of globalization gives a vivid descriptive approach to the development of the problem formulation.
In this chapter, I seek to explain the aim and significance of the study and further give insight on the study area. Furthermore references will also be made to the sources of data collection, the methods used in the collection of data for the thesis and the limitation with regards to this data.
This chapter handles the literature review in relation to the research and the theory which would be used to explain the educational situation in Cameroon. This chapter will also share with the reader why I have chosen to use this approach and why I have done this. Finally, how I will use the chosen theory to evaluate the education system in Cameroon and it effect on the students is explained. The structure and content of this theory will be examined in order to evaluate some of the shortcomings in trying to explain the current education situation faced in Cameroon.
This chapter will handle the challenges of HE in Cameroon; a historical comparison of both systems will be viewed in order to make the reader see the need to build a keen interest on how to assert which system is better preferred. It also presents the structure of HE as a case study and will also go as far in presenting the student perspective despite the divergence in education systems.
This chapter will analyze the findings of the investigation, coming out with possible results in relation to the theory and the problem formulation. It deals with questions such as;
The reasons why…?
What factors explain…?
What mechanisms are put in place to…?
What impact this might have on students?
How has this influence the development of the society?
What have we learnt from this work?
This is the concluding chapter of the research. It is made up of the possible solutions and opinions based on the findings and discussion of the study in relation with other case studies.
2.2 Country Background The empirical part of this study will be carried out in the Republic of Cameroon and this will be done by interviewing students who are from either French or English education background who have attended one of the two states universities with diverse cultural heritage and education systems. In addition, graduates from the French and English universities in Cameroon will be interviewed here in Denmark and other parts of Europe. Cameroon is found at the West region of Africa but for economics and political reasons it is situated in the Central of Africa. It has a surface area of 475.440 sq km with a total boundary length of 4,993 km (3,103 mi). Its borders extend from Lake Chad to the extreme of the Golf of Guinea between latitude two 2° north and longitude 9°east and 16° east of the Greenwich Meridian (UNESCO, 1995). According to the recent population census in 2005 the countries population was estimated to be 16,018,000. With this finding, Cameroon was ranked number 59th in population among the 193 nations in the world.
Before independence Cameroon was colonised by British and the French leading the various traditional heritage of diverse cultures and way of life; languages, educational practices and institutions respectively. During unification in 1972 these two inherited colonial backgrounds were merged with education being conspicuous. Currently, Cameroon is dived into ten regions, out of these ten regions eight is French speaking while two is English speaking respectively. Cameroon is a bilingual country with English and French as official languages but not withstanding it comprises of approximately 256 tribal groups and this can be seen with reflection of several local languages amounting close to about 300. The education system in Cameroon comprises of two educational subsystems operating under the Ministry of Education created in 1957 by the French Cameroon. It has one Ministry of HE which coordinates system policies for the entire system and comprises of six state universities and other private, professional and post secondary institutions.
Figure1. A presentation of the map of Cameroon with a view of all its neighbouring countries
The thesis will examine the evolution of the British and the French colonial systems of education. A background of Cameroon’s educational system will bring out some of the key issues that are needed to be amended in order to suit a country like Cameroon which is faced with the challenges of implementing a dual educational system of HE. From Watson’s theory on shaping education policy in South Africa, the social aspect will be exploited in order to bring out the interrelationship between beliefs; organisational culture and structure apply to ‘System of HE’ can be apply in the case of this research. Since the current education systems are be sighted as a legacy of colonial heritage, a proper field finding will be helpful by getting the current educational situation in Cameroon and how this is affecting the students. This will be done with the help of questionnaires. Secondly the various strategies the government of Cameroon and the other world donors have taken to promote educational development in Cameroon. This will be done by identifying the role played by some of these institutions in promoting and improving the standards of education in Cameroon. Finally, the outcome of this research will be examined through addressing the various measures and policies that examine the quality of education in Cameroon in respect of addressing the balance in opportunity between the French and an English speaking Cameroonian student.
2.4. Significance of the study
While the phenomenon of integration or system convergence in HE seems to be intensifying since the beginning of the third millennium, several studies have been undertaken, a bulk of which has focused on the impact of joint policy options on the system. In highlighting the dynamic and complexities involved in a comparative French and Anglo-Saxon system studies, this research seeks to make a practical contribution to the emerging and wide repertoire of literature in HE in Africa from the perspective of students that have graduated from the HE system.
Extensive nature of the French and British HE systems seems to suggest the importance of the study to the world system. The conceptual and practical issues that stem from the integration of these two systems in the case study will provide valuable data for the various integration ventures in HE .With the current existence of the French and British bicultural and bilingual nature in Cameroon, Cameroon has often been called ‘Africa in miniature’ this is because a majority of the fifty two countries in Africa share these two cultural and linguistic entities and to which Cameroon belongs after her long standing history of bicultural origin. As long as the significance of HE integration is beginning to gain momentum in Africa, this study will be valuable in providing information for joint policies on HE as well as various quality assurance initiatives for the continent.
2.4. Research Method The research methodology used in this study is primarily a qualitative research method, this research format emphasis on the stories and experiences of students, as well as the reports by organisations and government documents. However some statistics have been useful data for the study.
A host of critics sees qualitative research method as impressionistic and subject in the case study reflects the researcher personal judgement, which is asymmetrical. It is sometimes argued that their open-ended characteristic intends to limit the research focus and this does not give a clear understanding why an area is deemed more strategic to the other in carrying such a study. The difficulty to actually following up the procedure that take a qualitative researcher to arrive at the research conclusion gives the quantitative researcher the impetus to question its transparency level. With these academic differences this brings us to some distinctive fact between qualitative and quantitative research which are outlined below in table 1:
Source: Bryman, 2004: p287 The aspect of qualitative research which takes full consideration on an object of study for example, people rather than inanimate object such as chemical and gases makes this research methods more comprehensible to the other because it create a path way for qualitative researcher to view social life as a process which changes over time, and give clear justification of people behaviour over time and space. In addition, because this research method does not have a standardized format to arrive at a research outcome, this give it the unstructured characteristic making way for the researcher to think freely and develop new ideas with the use of empirical data which can lead us to the research outcome. With the characteristics of such a research method this work has deemed this method very useful to the study because the study takes an inductive approach which is focused on understanding the effects of a bi-educational system on students in Cameroon. .
A multi- disciplinary and inter-disciplinary approach in collecting data has been widely used. In terms of primary data, the collection data will range from unstructured surveys from participants (students) who originate from French and English parts of Cameroon. According to Bryman (2004:27) a research method is a technique of collecting data. It can comprise of specific measure such as self completion questionnaire or an unstructured interview schedule. In respect to this research the qualitative research method is used and this method will critically analyze the British and French colonial role on the education system in Cameroon, the student perspective will be looked at and the historical perspective will be reviewed in order to get an insight on how this bi-system of education came about and how this has affected the educational outcome of Cameroon students. The surveys will not necessarily pay impetus only on number but empirical information consisting of secondary data (words) will also be use in the research, the internet served as the principal medium to connect to online archives. Consultation of different websites, individual opinions, news papers, books from Aalborg University library, Copenhagen University library, photocopies of books from the University of Buea library, articles, manuals, press releases, news services, emails, document from HE in Cameroon and some related biographies.
2.5 Analytical Perspectives The guiding principles from the analytical perspectives following the literature review facilitated the collection of data and the researcher’s decision on the unit and level of analysis. First the cross national or cultural examination in the preceding chapter was employed in analysing the education system differences in Cameroon. It necessitated the systematic utilization of comparable data and literatures from the two original French and British systems with focus on each system as the object of analysis. It was consistent with the theoretical framework in relation to “cultures” or “differences” in national HE cultures. This cross cultural examination gave rise to a comparative method according to which the differences in the two subsystems. This method necessitated multidata sources with a characteristic that the formal analysis begins early in the study and it is almost completed at the end of the data collection (Bogdan & Biklen 1992, pp72).
2.6 Limitation of Study
Most the sample questionnaire had been answered in Europe and this has been done mostly by students who had either had difficult experiences of the system structure of HE in Cameroon. Their responses will not really give a good reflection of the current situation in Cameroon. Very few numbers of students who had actually been working in Cameroon after university study before travelling abroad. In addition most of the students who had been interviewed are originally from the Anglophone culture. The fact that certain useful information as concern concrete academic facts are kept confidentially makes it difficult to come out with a standard conclusion of this research. One other important issue was the limited number of students targeted to make such an ambiguous conclusion. Private universities have also been kept out in the course of investigating the problem facing HE in contemporary time. Another way to get a better understanding on such a research is to involved everybody on field both the administrators, the teachers and students, getting their various perspectives will be of help add more credible facts to determine how colonial legacy has affected HE in Cameroon.