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ENS Doors Widen, But 

By Junior Samba

The competitive entrance examination into the Higher Teacher Training College, ENS, have recently appeared to be more accessible than before. Previously, in as much as there was an overflow of candidates taking the exam, many simply threw in the towel because  often they feared losing their hard-gotten money given that the number of places needed was usually restricted as compared to the number of candidates who take the exams.

To make matters worse, the institution as others such as the National School of Administration and Magistracy (ENAM), the Military Academy (EMIA), the Faculty of Medicines and Biomedical Sciences (FMSB)… has always suffered from a stigma which [rightly] holds that there are often some places reserved for candidates who are well to do or who have "connections" with people who guarantee their admission into the schools for reasons other than purely academic. But today ENS has widened its doors with the opening of an annex in Maroua and the creation of a second cycle in Bambili in addition to that of Yaounde.

When this writer met some of the candidates who sat for this year’s entrance exams, they did express a lot of optimism as to the high probability of sailing through. Such optimism, they said, stems from the fact that they were opportuned to go in for the exams into all the three institutions. Candidates for the Bilingual series say they have an added advantage as they can cope anywhere because of their mastery of the two the official languages.

The advantage of maximising one’s chances of succeeding, notwithstanding, one must note that the risk equally becomes greater. Some candidates admitted that there is a fake tendency to believe that because there are many more opportunities, the exams will also be made easier. The candidates who thought so before have come to realise that the exam has maintained its level across the board.

Another danger candidates face is that of taking the exams for granted. Some of the candidates admitted that there is the tendency for one to relax thinking that even if one does not make it in one; they will surely do so in the other. But before they realise it, everything might have turned sour.

Another important aspect of the widened doors into ENS is the financial stakes involved. For example, most of the candidates this writer talked to were unanimous on the fact that they spend quite a great deal of time toiling to raise the money they need to register for all three exams.

This is often to the detriment of the time they ought to use reading in preparation for the exams. Some of them go to the extent of borrowing the money which is often not easy to pay back. Most of them disclosed that they spend about FCFA 120, 000 to register for the three exams, a huge amount for an average Cameroonian student.

Although the financial constraints are a real burden, many of the candidates hold that it is all in the interest of the state whose coffers are filled. They added that it is a kind of "Le malheur des uns fait le bonheur des autres" that is: "one man’s bread is another man’s poison." However, most of the candidates hold that the financial burden will only inflict pains on them if they do not succeed.

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