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Falling Work Standards: Flip Side Of Galloping Unemployment 

By Bouddih Adams

Standards in all walks of life in Cameroon have nose-dived and can be said to have ended up in a broken nose today, to the extent that the stench emanating from the decay thus caused cannot be perceived.

Good practices and good governance, which used to be the hallmark of professional life, especially in the Southern Cameroons through West Cameroon days and later in the Ahmadou Ahidjo administration, have all eroded with the current trends which encompasses employment, appointment and promotion in the civil service, and is also permeating private enterprises, be they secular or non-secular.

Every year, universities in Cameroon churn out tens of thousands of students who, thereafter, roam the streets given that there are no jobs to absorb them.

Government puts unemployment rate at five percent, but CSO’s hold that unemployment is not only galloping but flying in the country at 70 percent.

At the announcement of any recruitment, these job seekers scramble for places – sometimes ‘buying’ them. Thus, they end up in fields they never envisaged or never imagined and their highest performance mediocrity.
So, many people get into professions today, not to serve the nation, but to serve their purse.

Teaching, ministry work, law, medicine, health and journalism, are all vocations. Even at that, not all that are called are chosen. In those days, people didn’t just dabble into professions. Those who went into professions did so because they had a passion for the profession.

That is why, no matter the trials and tribulations in the profession, the practitioners stayed put; hardly engaged in activities as to sully the image of the profession.

Meantime, those who dared to dabble into a profession fell on the wayside of the professional road, most abandoned it for other occupations, while others perished in despair.

Professor Enow Tanjong of the University of Buea, a Professor of Journalism who started the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication in that varsity from inception, captures it vividly, that: “… 70 percent of those journalists today are not fit to be journalists or are not practising what journalism should be.”

The situation is further compounded by Law No 90/53 of 1990, regulating press freedom in Cameroon which, virtually, makes it that just anybody can become a journalist.

There are many Pastors today who should have nothing to do with pastoral work.

After trying many other things and failing, they get into the easy way of making a living by enrolling into a Bible school and after less than one year, they graduate as pastors and would want to rub shoulders with church ministers and even argue the Bible and Christian life with the trained and ordained or inducted church leaders.

You and I know that it takes at least seven years to be ordained priest of the Catholic Church and, at least, five years to be inducted a Pastor of the Presbyterian Church or the Baptist Church and the other mainstream Churches.

The new “school” for church leaders today is called “Vision”. Every church growing around the Cameroons and other countries today claims to have seen a vision in which the Lord asked them to come and serve Him by becoming a Shepherd of his flock and stock.

This scribbler tried to argue with one of them and his street-smart retort: “Were you there when I was seeing the vision?”

Most people who have flooded the teaching field did not have the call to be teachers. About three years ago, a graduate from the University of Buea in Banking and Finance, after looking for a job without success, went into reporting and branded himself a journalist.

When he couldn’t find a foothold in the profession because of his wayward ways, he managed to enrol in a Government Teacher Training College and announce that all he was out for was a ‘matricule number’.

This meant that, after graduation from teachers training, if he is posted as a teacher anywhere, he would be receiving a salary without doing effective work as a teacher.

True to type, today he is working as press officer for Government institution due to political godfatherism
Another reflection of unemployment is the number of commercial motorbike riders (bendskins) in the country. Douala, the economic capital, has the menacing number of about 50,000 of these do-as-you -chose set of people.

Bamenda has 10,000 of the Okada men and boys that are, more or less, prowling the town waiting for an opportunity to go on the rampage.

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