22 SES 08 B, Student Transitions and Graduate Employability
The European Bologna Process has become a model for change in other countries and regions of the world beyond Europe, including Africa, (World Education News and Reviews, 2007) from which lessons are learned, and templates borrowed (Crosier and Parveva 2013). One of the objectives of the Bologna Process is the employability of graduates which is seen as a way towards the establishment of a common European Higher Education Area Bologna Declaration 1999). Since 2007, Universities in Cameroon have been implementing some of the Bologna Process ideas under the LMD system which is a French acronym for license, master et doctorat). Like the Bologna Process, the employability of graduates is seen as a driving force of the LMD system in the Cameroonian higher education under the slogan “one student =one job opportunity, one student=one business enterprise” as stated by the Cameroonian Minister of higher Education (MINESUP 2010).
Aim: This paper examines how the notion of graduates’ employability is interpreted and the means towards achieving it in universities in Cameroon. In addition, this study discusses the perceptions of teachers and students on the professionalization of degree programmes in Cameroonian Universities. The specific research questions to be answered are:
- Through what means is the employability of graduates achieved in Universities in Cameroon?
- What is the perception of students and lecturers on the professionalization of degree programmes in universities in Cameroon?
- What issues do the professionalization of degree programmes raise for higher education policy?
From a theoretical perspective, this paper uses the notion of the third mission. The third mission in higher education can be understood as the generation, use and application of knowledge for non-academic purposes (Molas-Gallart & Castro-Martino 2007). Therefore, the third mission of higher education emphasizes a more practical dimension of higher education. Hence besides teaching and research, Universities can have a third mission (Etzkowitz & Leydesdorff 2000) which can be the link between the Universities and the labour marker or more specifically, ensuring graduate empluability. Therefore, this paper uses the concept of the third mission to illustrate how the traditional practices of Cameroonian Universities are moving from teaching and research to a more practical orientation-professionalization.
Etzkowitz, H., & Leydesdorff, l. (2000). The Dynamics of innovation: from national systems amd ‘Mode 2’ to triple Helix of university-Industry-Governance Relations. Research Policy, Vol. 29, pp. 109-123. Molas-Gallart, J. & Castro-Mertinez, E. (2007). Ambiguity and Conflict in the Development of the Third Mission indicators. research Evaluation, 16(4), pp 321-330). Crosier, David and Parveva, Teodora (2013). The Bologna Process: Its impact on higher education development in Europe and beyond. Paris: UNESCO: International Institute for Educational Planning. Retrieved on January 27, 2013 from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0022/002206/220649e.pdf Holstein, J. and Gubrium, J. (2004). The active interview. In Silverman, D. (ed.), Qualitative research theory, methods and practice. London,SAGE publications. World Education News and Reviews. (2007).The Bologna Process beyond Europe, Part 1. Retrieved from http://www.wes.org/ewenr/07apr/feature.htm. Yin, R.K. (1989). Case study research: Design and methods. Newbury Park Ca: Sage Publication. Braun, V. & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in Psychology. Qualitative research in Psychology, 3, 77-101. MINESUP. (2010). Professionalization at the heart of the universities-Business world partnership. MINESUP. Bologna Declaration. (1999). Joint declaration of the European ministers of education. Retrieved from http://www.bolognaberlin2003.de\pdf\bologna_declaratio.pdf.
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