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Korea Helping Cameroon Groom Competent Manpower 

By Divine Ntaryike Jr — Plans to fit Cameroon with state-of-the-art vocational training hubs are finally hopping from paper to reality.  Employment and Vocational Training Minister Zacharie Perevet Wednesday, May 9 in Douala wrapped up a mission to flag off the construction of three of the centers.

They will be erected in Sangmelima in the South, Limbe in the South West and Douala in the Littoral, thanks to South Korean assistance.  According to Minister Perevet, the advanced vocational training centers will enable Cameroon groom a pool of competent manpower, and help avoid embarrassments of the kind witnessed during the construction of the Chad-Cameroon Pipeline a decade ago.

“There are several giant infrastructure projects being launched across the country and we need capable people.  We don’t want to go elsewhere for welders and plumbers for example, as occurred during the construction of the pipeline.  We don’t want that to happen again and our goal is to have skilled Cameroonian labor trained in Cameroon for Cameroon,” he said.

Globally, the centers will be built by Korean engineers over the next 22 months for an overall cost of 24 billion FCFA [part of it borrowed from Korea].  Their doors will be flung open as from 2014, with over a thousand enrolled students, including university graduates, comprising the first batch.  They will be trained in various specialties including welding, woodworks, plumbing, dressmaking, etc.

According to experts, the initiative comes as a prompt response to the country’s heavily-criticized educational system whose graduates persistently fail to meet job market requirements.  “We observed that what Cameroon needs is not just material assistance, but sincere investment in human capital, and also the establishment of the right system of training for technicians.  That’s how we jointly came up with this project with the government here,” Korean Ambassador to Cameroon Chou Jun-yeouk said.

In Limbe, the advanced vocational training center will be based at Mile 4, on the outskirts of the seaside resort.  It will welcome 480 trainees with 240 of them to take part-time courses.  Andrew Mojimba Motanga, Government Delegate to the Limbe City Council said the center will at term significantly address rising unemployment as well as help boost living standards among youths in the entire South West region.          

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