Advertisement

Higher Education Policy

, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 309–332 | Cite as

Enhancing Graduate Employability in Cameroonian Universities Through Professionalization in the Context of the ‘Licence–Master–Doctorat’ Reform

  • Elizabeth Agbor Eta
Original Article
  • 163 Downloads

Abstract

The adoption of Bologna Process ideas through the ‘licence–master–doctorat’ system has set in motion reforms in the Cameroon higher education (HE), including the issue of graduate employability. Based on text documents and interviews, this article examines the employability agenda with a focus on its conceptualization, its operational strategies, and its consequences for universities in Cameroon. The findings show that graduate employability is enhanced in Cameroonian universities through a combination of strategies under the catchword ‘professionalization’ — that is, preparing students with skills and competences for specific professions. Conceptualizing professionalization, this article shows that the adoption of BP ideas did not bring in completely new elements in the employability agenda; it merely inspired local reforms and solutions which led to the reinforcement and diversification of the existing professionalization agenda that has been one of the missions of HE in Cameroon. This article focuses on the creation of professional degree programmes as an operational strategy for enhancing graduate employability. As a consequence of the conceptualization and operationalization strategies adopted, we identified mismatches between policy objectives and policy outcomes.

Keywords

Bologna Process employability professionalization LMD system professional degree programmes cameroon 

Notes

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Professor Risto Rinne, Dr Johanna Kallo, Hanna Laalo and Suvi Jokila for commenting on an earlier draft of this article. I would also like to thank all the participants of the 40th anniversary seminar of the faculty of education, University of Turku for their constructive comments. I also appreciate the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on an earlier draft.

References

  1. ADEA (1999) Reforming a National System of Higher Education: The case of Cameroon, Washington DC: Association for the Development of Education in Africa.Google Scholar
  2. African Development Bank (2009) Country Strategy Paper 20102014 Cameroon, Abidjan: African Development Bank.Google Scholar
  3. African Economic Outlook (2012) Cameroon, Abidjan: African Development Bank, available on https://www.afdb.org/fileadmin/uploads/afdb/Documents/Publications/Cameroon%20Full%20Country%20Note.pdf.
  4. Anderson-Levitt, K. (ed.) (2003) Local Meanings, Global Schooling: Anthropology and World Culture Theory, New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  5. Association of African Universities (2013) Transforming African Higher Education for Graduate Employability and Socio-Economic Development, Proceedings of the 13th General Conference of the Association of African Universities; 28–31 May; Libreville, Gabon.Google Scholar
  6. Attride-Stirling, J. (2001) ‘Thematic networks: An analytic tool for qualitative research’, Qualitative Research 1(3): 385–405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Balarin, M. and Benavides, M. (2010) ‘Curriculum reform and the displacement of knowledge in Peruvian rural secondary schools: Exploring the unintended local consequences of global education policies’, Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education 40(3): 311–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Barrie, S. (2007) ‘A conceptual framework for the teaching and learning of generic graduate attributes’, Studies in Higher Education 32(4): 439–458.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bhanugopan, R. and Fish, A. (2009) ‘Achieving graduate employability through consensus in the South Pacific island nations’, Education and Training 51(2): 108–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bologna Declaration. (1999) Joint Declaration of the European Ministers of Education, http://www.bologna-berlin2003.de/pdf/bologna_declaratio.pdf.
  11. Braun, V. and Clarke, V. (2006) ‘Using thematic analysis in Psychology’, Qualitative Research in Psychology 3(1): 77–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bridgstock, R. (2009) ‘The graduate attributes we’ve overlooked: Enhancing graduate employability through career management skills’, Higher Education Research and Development 28(1): 31–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Brøgger, K. (2014) ‘The ghosts of higher education reform: On the organizational processes surrounding policy borrowing’, Globalisation, Societies and Education 12(4): 520–541.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Carney, S., Rappleye, J. and Silova, I. (2012) ‘Between Faith and Science: World Culture Theory and Comparative Education’, Comparative Education Review 56(3): 366–393.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. CEMAC Council of Ministers (2005) Déecision No 05/05-UEAC-019.CM-13. Portant création d’une cellule technique LMD sous la supervision du secrétaire exécutif de la CEMAC, chargée du suivi du projet LMD pour la construction de l’espace CEMAC de l’enseignement supérieur, de la recherche et de la formation professionnelle, [Decision on creating a technical unit for the LMD], Libreville: CEMACGoogle Scholar
  16. CEMAC Council of Ministers (2006a) Décision No 01/06-UEAC-019.CM-14. Portant application du système LMD dans les universités et établissements d’enseignement supérieur de l’espace CEMAC, [Decision on the implementation the LMD in universities and institutions of higher learning in the CEMAC zone], Bata, Equatorial Guinea: CEMAC.Google Scholar
  17. CEMAC Council of Ministers (2006b) Décision No 02/06-UEAC-019.CM-14 Portant Organisation des Etudes Universitaires dans l’espace CEMAC dans le cadre du système LMD, [Decision on the organisation of university studies in the CEMAC zone within the framework of the LMD system], Bata, Equatorial Guinea: CEMAC.Google Scholar
  18. Czarniawska, B. and Genell, K. (2002) ‘Gone shopping? Universities on their way to the market’, Scandinavian Journal of Management 18(4): 455–474.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. de Boer, H. (2017) ‘Strengthening research at the Dutch Hogescholen’: From ideas to institutionalization’ in H. de Boer, J. File, J. Huisman, M. Seeber, M. Vukasovic, and D.F. Westerheijden (eds.). Policy Analysis of Structural Reforms in Higher Education: Processes and Outcomes, Basingstoke: Palgrave, pp. 75–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Doh, P.S. (2012) The responses of the higher education sector in the poverty reduction strategies in Africa: The case of Cameroon. PhD dissertation, School of Management, University of Tampere, Tampere.Google Scholar
  21. Doh, B.T.S. (2015) Evaluating the Strategic Objectives of Cameroonian Higher Education: An application of the Balanced Scorecard. PhD dissertation, Research Unit for the Sociology of Education, University of Turku, Turku.Google Scholar
  22. Eloundou-Enyegue, P., Maurice, P., Richard, O., Onguene, V.P., Bahoken, S., Tamukong, J., Mbangwana, M., Evina, J.E., Ogongoue, C.M. (2004) Access to schooling and employment in Cameroon: New inequalities and opportunities, Strategies and analysis of Growth and Access, SAGA Report, Cornell University. Retrieved from http://www.cfnpp.cornell.edu/images/wp163.pdf.
  23. Eta, E.A. (2015) ‘Policy borrowing and transfer, and policy convergence: Justifications for the adoption of the Bologna Process in the CEMAC region and the Cameroonian higher education system through the LMD reform’, Comparative Education 51(2): 161–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Eta, E.A. and Vubo, E.Y. (2016) ‘Global references, local translation: Adaptation of the Bologna Process degree structure and credit system at universities in Cameroon’, Globalisation, Societies and Education 14(4): 492–512.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Fairclough, N. and Wodak. R. (2008) ‘The Bologna process and the Knowledge Economy: A Critical Discourse Analysis’, in B. Jessop, N. Fairclough and R. Wodak (eds.). Education and the Knowledge-Based Economy in Europe, Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, pp. 109–126.Google Scholar
  26. Feudjio, Y.B.D. (2009) ‘L’adoption du système LMD par les universités au Cameroun: enjeux, contraintes et perspectives’, Journal of Higher Education in Africa 7(1–2): 141–157.Google Scholar
  27. Forestier, K., Adamson, B., Han, C. and Morris, P. (2016) ‘Referencing and borrowing from other systems: The Hong Kong education reform’, Educational Research 58(2): 147–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gumport, P.J. (2000) ‘Academic restructuring: Organizational change and institutional imperative’, Higher Education 39(1): 67–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Harvey, L. (2000) ‘New realities: The relationship between higher education and employment’, Tertiary Education and Management 6(1): 3–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Harvey, L. (2001) ‘Defining and measuring employability’, Quality in Higher Education 7(2): 97–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Harvey, L. (2005) ‘Embedding and integrating employability’, New Directions for Institutional Research 128(1): 13–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Harvey, L. and Knight, P. (2003) Briefing on Employability 5: Helping Departments to Develop Employability, York: ESECT.Google Scholar
  33. Holland, S. (2006) ‘Synthesis: A lifelong learning framework for graduate attributes’, in P. Hager and S. Holland (eds.) Graduate Attributes, Learning and Employability, Dordrecht: Springer, pp. 267–307.Google Scholar
  34. Knight, P. and Yorke, M. (2003) ‘Employability and good learning in higher education’, Teaching in Higher Education 8(1): 3–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Libreville Declaration (2005) Declaration de Libreville sur la construction de l’espace CEMAC de L’enseignment superieur, de la recherche et de la formation professionnelle, Libreville: CEMAC.Google Scholar
  36. Matherly, C.A. and Tilliman, M. (2015) ‘Higher Education and the employability agenda’ in J. Huisman, H. de Boer, D.D. Dill, and M. Souto-Otero (eds). The Palgrave International Handbook of Higher Education Policy and Governance, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 281–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Meyer, J., Boli, J., Thomas, G., and Ramirez, F. (1997) ‘World society and nation-states’, American Journal of Sociology 103(1): 144–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Ministry of Higher Education (2007) Cirulaire ministérielle no 007/0003MINESUP/CAB/IGA/ce du 19 OCT 2007. Portant disposition relative au cadrage général en vue du lancement du system Licence, Master, doctorat (LMD) dans l’enseignment supérieur au Cameroun, [Minsterial circular on the general framework for the launch of the LMD system in higher education in Cameroon], Yaoundé: Ministry of Higher EducationGoogle Scholar
  39. Ministry of Higher Education (2010a) Professionalization at the heart of the universities-Business world partnership, in Ministry of Higher education Sup INFOS: A Bilingual Quarterly Review of Higher Education in Cameroon. No. 16, Yaoundé: Ministry of Higher Education.Google Scholar
  40. Ministry of Higher Education (2010b) Cameroon Higher Education Guide, Ministry of Higher Education, Yaoundé: Ministry of Higher Education.Google Scholar
  41. Moleworth, M., Elizabeth, N. and Richard, S. (2009) ‘Having, being and higher education: The marketization of the university and transformation of the student into consumer’, Teaching in Higher Education 14(3): 277–287.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Morley, L. (2001) ‘Producing new workers: Quality, equality and employability in higher education’, Quality in Higher Education 7(2): 131–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Nalova, E.N. (2014) ‘Professionalization of higher education: Assessing teaching and learning within the Framework of the BMP in the University of Buea’, African Journal of Education and Technology 4(1): 97–111.Google Scholar
  44. Ngwana, T.A. (2001) The Implementation of the 1993 Higher Education Reforms in Cameroon: Issues and Promises, A case study for the International Centre for Educational Leadership, University of Lincolnshire & Humberside. Available on http://chet.org.za/papers/implementation-1993-higher-education-reforms-cameroon-issues-and-promises.
  45. Ochs, K. (2006) ‘Cross-national policy borrowing and educational innovation: Improving achievement in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenha’, Oxford Review of Education 32(5): 599–618.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Phillips, D. and Ochs, K. (2004) ‘Some methodological challenges in comparative education’, British Educational Research Journal 30(6): 773–784.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Puhakka, A., Rautopuro. J. and Tuominen, V. (2010)’Employability and Finnish University graduates’, European Educational Research Journal 9(1): 45–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Rinne, R. and Koivula, J. (2005) ‘The changing place of the university and a clash of values. The entrepreneurial University in the European Knowledge society: A review of the literature’, Higher Education Management and Policy 17 (3): 91–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Sahlin, K. and Wedlin, L. (2008) ‘Circulating ideas: Imitation, translating and editing’, in C. Oliver, R. Suddaby, and A. Sahlin (eds.). The SAGE Handbook of Organizational Institutionalism, Thousand Oaks: Sage, pp. 218–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Sewell, P. and Dacre Pool, L. (2010) ‘Moving from conceptual ambiguity to operational clarity: Employability, enterprise and entrepreneurship in higher education’, Education + Training 52(1): 89–94.Google Scholar
  51. Sin, C. and Neave, G. (2014) ‘Employability deconstructed: Perceptions of Bologna Stakeholders’, Studies in Higher Education 41(8): 1447–1462CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Steiner-Khamsi, G. (2012) ‘Understanding policy borrowing and lending’, in S-K. Gita and W. Florian (eds.) World Year Book of Education: Policy Borrowing and Lending in Education, London: Routledge, pp. 3–17.Google Scholar
  53. Steiner-Khamsi, G. (2014) ‘Cross-national policy borrowing: Understanding reception and translation’, Asia Pacific Journal of Education 34(2): 153–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Stiwne, E.A. and Alves, M.G. (2010) ‘Higher education and employability of graduates: Will bologna make a difference?’, European Educational Research Journal 9(1): 32–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Teixeira, P., Teixeira, P.N, Cardose, S., Rosa, M.J and Magalhães, A. (2016) ‘Graduates’ perception about labour market competences: Does the type of institution and programmes make a difference?’, Higher Education Policy 29(1): 109–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Tomlinson, M. (2012) ‘Graduate employability: A review of conceptual and empirical themes’, Higher Education Policy 25(4): 407–431.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Tomlinson, M. (2016) ‘The impact of market-driven higher education on student-university relations: Investing, consuming and competing’, Higher Education Policy 29(2): 149–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Verger, A. (2014) ‘Why do policy-makers adopt global policies? Towards a research framework on the varying role of ideas in education reform’, Current issues in Comparative Education 16(2): 14–29.Google Scholar
  59. Vubo, E.M. (2011) The Challenge of Tertiary Education Reforms in Cameroon: Market, Politics and International Imperatives, Bamenda: NAB Ventures Publishers.Google Scholar
  60. Yorke, M. (2006) Employability in higher education: What it iswhat it is not. ESECT, learning and Employability. Series One, York: The Higher Education Academy.Google Scholar
  61. Yorke, M., and Knight, P. (2004) Embedding employability in the curriculum, Learning and employability series, ESECT: LTSN Generic Centre.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© International Association of Universities 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Education, Center for Research on Lifelong Learning and Education (CELE)University of TurkuTurkuFinland

Personalised recommendations