By Paul Lukong
In English speaking Universities The Academic journey of every scholar begins with the matriculation, an exercise that permits students to take an oath pledging their allegiance to the established norms of the University.
Returning students, staff, distinguished personalities and well wishers gathered at the CCU main building on Saturday 12 November, 2016 to witness the matriculation of fresshmen and women and to welcome the new post graduate students. It was a red letter day for the entire CCU community and most especially for the matriculating students who were beautifully dressed in their exquisite robes and who for the first time were privileged to listen to Pr. Godfrey Njimanted, a distinguished professor of economics deliver a spellbinding academic discourse. To officially welcome the freshmen and women, the Vice-Chancellor said choosing to begin or further their studies at the CCU was the right move. Here below is a full version of the VC's speech:
"Vice-Chancellor’s Speech at the 2016 CCU Matriculation
Presented by Professor V.P.K. Titanji
Theme: A Holistic Education that respects ethical and professional values is necessary for success in the globalised world.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to this solemn ceremony of Matriculation at which we receive fresh students and welcome newly enrolled post-graduate students. We have decided to name this intake “The Batch of HOPE”: Hope for a better future for the incoming students, but also hope for the institution which is traversing a difficult period in its development.
The CCU was the first choice of many of you despite the keen competition offered by the 8 highly subsidized public universities and the more than 200 private higher education institutions from which you had to choose. In the past a majority of those who came to us were those who had failed to get admission elsewhere – thus our first admissions list always appeared later, after the others had taken their pick. This year the situation was different. Most of you were admitted on the first list that came out earlier than in the past – indicating that the CCU was indeed your first choice. Let me, in assuring you that you made the right choice, explain further why we believe that the CCU’s approach to higher education is highly competitive, and in our opinion well adapted to prepare you for a productive future post-graduation.
Right from the beginning the founding fathers had opted for a holistic education predicated on cherished Christian values. This implied that the acquisition of new knowledge and job skills are emphasized, alongside ethical, civic and moral values. We try to teach not only theory, but to practice what we teach in our daily activities as well. We therefore invite you to join us in the mid-day prayers and retreats which our Chaplain the Rev. Fomuso leads on Mondays and Wednesdays. You will be agreeably surprised by the thought provoking and soul searching reflections he delivers.
In designing the syllabi of the CCU we have taken time to blend theory and practice in such a way as to produce not just professionals, but above all good citizens. Elsewhere we have called them citizen-intellectuals. You can therefore rest assured that your certificates obtained at CCU, which are recognized by the State and internationally, will be a real passport to a bright future. But this will only happen if you work hard, manage your time well and cultivate good friends while avoiding bad ones. Thus from day one, ask yourself what can I do to attain my objectives at the CCU. Then make up your timetable and go to work immediately. Do not postpone to learn your lessons until examination time is up. Learn in class as your teacher teaches and use the internet wisely to complete your lesson notes. The CCU has a good library with more than 5000 books. Soon we shall render operational our digital library for which we have received a grant from Bread for the World. Thus you are encouraged to spend time at the library to take advantage of these facilities.
CCU programs are flexible permitting students from diverse backgrounds to enroll for the most competitive programs. Let me cite a few examples – many students would like to study engineering are handicapped by the lack of ‘A’ Level Mathematics. We now admit students with any two science ‘A’ Levels and assist them to prepare for and take ‘A’ Level Mathematics while following their engineering course.
The same is true for qualified students who have the required ‘A’ Level combinations, but do not have a pass in English Language. Such students can also enroll with us and prepare to meet the ‘O’ Level English Language requirement while taking university courses.
Finally, our HND plus One year conversion to B.Tech has now been expanded from Nursing to Accountancy, Banking and Finance, Management, Computer Engineering etc. You can tell your colleagues who have not yet enrolled elsewhere to take advantage of these opportunities.
In a bid to implement our innovative professionalization programs – we have introduced the Integrated Practicum since last year. This gives you an opportunity to experiment on the real job situations before you go out for your internships and industrial attachments.
Furthermore, the CCU is competitive, not only because it has a well conceived professionalized syllabus, but also because it has the appropriate staff to implement them. Last year, we recruited 10 new teachers, all of them professionals and 7 of them holders of a doctorate degree. These together with our experienced visiting teachers bring our staff strength to about 80. Through collaborative links supported by the GIZ/GTZ we shall be receiving two engineering professors from Germany to join their local colleagues in teaching at INSET. At the same time, negotiations are advanced to link our university to Finnish universities through the Consortium Aboa Mare with whom we signed a Memorandum of Understanding last year.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This year we are receiving a total of 98 new students, 75 in Bali and 23 in Kumba distributed as follows: INASMAS 18, INMEBS 35, INPRESS 17, INSET 14, Spring Semester 14, Total = 98
This figure falls short somewhat of last year’s enrolment, but would be increased when the batch of foreign students whom we are expecting arrives later this month.
Now, let me welcome the Master’s students, who have joined us this year. Having graduated before, you are now making the transition to the next level of competence in the BMP/LMD system. Unlike the undergraduates, you will be expected to work more independently and to take your first steps into research. Graduate studies calls for concentration, good planning and enhanced problem solving skills. Do not be shy to go back and revise your undergraduate notes where need be. Discoveries and innovations are made at the interface between the known and unknown. Therefore, you are advised to choose your research topic early, under-study it and acquire the necessary skills to tackle your research objectives. You have at your disposal a distinguished faculty to guide you. Take advantage of their availability to plan your work. I am convinced that you will succeed if you work constructively.
Before concluding my remarks, let me thank our many guests for accepting our invitation to this Matriculation ceremony. I wish to thank in a special way our keynote speaker, Pr. Godfrey Njimanted, who is one of our most distinguished visiting professors. You will be listening to him later in this ceremony. Let us give him a hand.
Finally, I congratulate the fresh men and women and the Master’s students for choosing the CCU. Together, let us work for a bright future for you, your families and our dear fatherland, Cameroon.God bless you all. Thank you for your kind attention. Prof. Vincent P.K. Titanji Vice-Chancellor"