On May 18, Cameroon Radio and Television (CRTV) welcomed U.S. Embassy and Cameroon Ministry of Basic Education officials to its “Monday Show” evening program. They were interviewed by Ms. Rose Epie Mbolle. Regional Facilities Manager Mr. Kevin Mallek and Lead Inspector of Pedagogy Dr. Michael Nkwenti responded to questions from Ms. Mbolle on the importance of technical and vocational education and how it relates to Cameroon’s “Vision 2035” for development.
Mr. Mallek promoted technical and vocational education, adding that in the United States some prospective students seek training on key career as plumbing, electrical, welding, carpentry, generator repair, and building automation systems, which are essential to strengthening infrastructure and services. Other students cannot afford four year universities and begin their academic careers at vocational schools or community colleges. “President Barack Obama finds community colleges in the U.S. so important that he is trying to promote free education for those who cannot afford it. It’s important to realize that a student does not need to stop learning after a vocational degree. Developing a strong technical workforce to not just to build, but to operate and maintain the buildings and infrastructure will be crucial. I find it interesting when people want to talk about building, but do not discuss the operations and maintenance side. According to the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), when looking at the entire lifecycle cost of a facility, only 25 percent is spent on design and construction, the remain 75 percent is spent on operating and maintaining over the length of its useful life. This is the reason why careers surround facilities management are quickly becoming in demand, and people with the right balance of education and experience have a bright future. This is especially important to support the goals on Cameroon’s ‘Vision 2035,’” said Mallek.
Dr. Nkwenti supported Mr. Mallek’s comments and also stressed how “the Government of Cameroon has increased the number of vocational and technical schools, but stressed they needed to be outfitted with proper technical equipment so students can get actual hands-on experience of physically holding and using tools such as power saws, welders, and metering equipment. A lot of time is spent on theory, but if the students do not obtain the practical side of training, it limits their knowledge employment opportunities.”
Mr. Mallek’s participation in CRTV’s “Monday Show” evening program was part of the U.S. Embassy’s media outreach programming to promote education. See Facebook album of interview: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10155570953535716.1073742017.312546460715&type=3&uploaded=4.