In a recent statement, Professor Ngomo Horace, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Buea, shed light on the selection criteria for the 50,000 FCFA Presidential Excellence Award. This comes in response to a series of complaints raised by numerous students at the University of Buea.
One of the vocal critics was a student who was affected and wrote to MMI’s People’s Voice segment yesterday to question the university’s selection process and call for transparency. He voiced his concerns, saying, “To the best of my knowledge, the required GPA to qualify for this grant is 2.5, a standard I’ve consistently maintained since my undergraduate studies. Nevertheless, my name inexplicably failed to appear on the list this time. I’m left wondering about the exact criteria employed by the University of Buea for this selection.”
The Master’s student continued, expressing his disappointment with the university’s management and suggesting that measures be taken by the Head of State to ensure that all deserving students have the chance to receive this financial award.
In response to these concerns, the UB Vice Chancellor clarified the criteria for selection as follows:
- Students must have a minimum GPA of 2.40 on a 4.0 scale.
- Eligibility is restricted to students of Cameroonian nationality.
- Students with a clean disciplinary record are considered.
- Undergraduate students must be 22 years of age or younger.
- Master’s students should be 25 years of age or younger.
- PhD students should be 30 years of age or younger.
- Only students who paid the registration fee for the 2021–2022 academic year are eligible.
- Candidates who sat for resit examinations are not eligible.
- Civil servants are excluded from consideration.
Despite the UB Vice Chancellor providing these clarifications, it’s significant to note that Paul Biya, the president of Cameroon, annually awards the Presidential Excellence Award to honor outstanding students across all state universities. The aim of this grant is to promote excellence as a means of fulfilling Cameroon’s Vision 2035, which envisions the nation’s emergence as a prosperous and thriving entity.
Nevertheless, many have questioned the University of Buea’s decision to impose such rigorous criteria, which they argue may prevent numerous deserving students from benefiting from the President’s Excellence Award.
Particularly, there have been questions raised on issues of ageism, where people are prevented from receiving an award because of age, yet they are allowed on the programmes at the university. The question most respondents asked is whether there should be an age restriction on people accessing the benefits of education, given that this is not a criteria for many of them who have studied abroad and received scholarships.