Date of Award

2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Leadership PhD

First Advisor

Robson M. Marinho

Second Advisor

Jimmy Kijai

Third Advisor

Alice C. Williams

Abstract

Problem Statement. The literature on education in Cameroon suggests that there is a deep-rooted history of resistance to educational reform and harmonization both at the K12 and higher education levels. Attempts by political and educational leaders to reform and harmonize the two very distinct systems of education, inherited from former colonizers (France/Britain), have failed in the past because of failure by policy makers to take care of the socio-cultural, professional, and academic demands of educational stakeholders—faculty, students, parents, and educational leaders. At the center of resistance has been the fear by Francophone and Anglophone students and faculty that their exchange program opportunities with French and Anglo-Saxon higher education institutions, respectively, could be compromised by the adoption of a pro-English or pro-French harmonized model. Nonetheless, the inability to reform and harmonize has led to endemic problems related to quality and difficulties of comparability and interpretability of qualifications within Cameroon and between Cameroon and the rest of the world. Faculty and students in Cameroonian higher education have been known to spearhead resistance to reform in the past. The 2007 BMD reform represents the first harmonized model of higher education based on the European Bologna Process model already under implementation in both France and Britain. Considering that the delivery of every educational reform is dependent on the engagement of faculty, this study investigates attitudes of instructors in Cameroonian tertiary educational institutions towards the Bologna model BMD reform.

Method. A quantitative non-experimental, descriptive, exploratory survey research design was used in this study. A questionnaire was used to investigate attitudes toward the BMD reform with regard to faculty‘s perceived (1) fears and uncertainties, (2) knowledge and beliefs, and (3) organizational support relating to the reform. Descriptive statistics assessed faculty perceptions in these three dimensions while Multivariate Analysis of Variance, Univariate Analysis of Variance, and post-hoc multiple comparisons were used to determine the similarities and differences in faculty perceptions of the BMD reform on the basis of their gender, age, type of college or university, area of specialization, professional experience, highest degree, professional rank, and language of instruction.

Results. Faculty perceptions of the BMD reform were negative with respect to their perceived fears and expectations about the reform and their perceptions of organizational support for the reform and positive with respect to their perceived knowledge and expectations about the reform. While faculty was largely knowledgeable and hopeful about the goals and objectives of the reform, they were somewhat fearful and uncertain about its actual outcome and thought the organizational support for its implementation was largely inadequate. Faculty who use English as the language of instruction were significantly more supportive of the reform than faculty who use French. Older, more experienced, more qualified, and higher ranked respondents (faculty) were likely to be more supportive of the reform than younger, less experienced, less qualified, and lower ranked faculty.

Conclusion. Even faculty with the strongest desire for and belief in educational change can become unreceptive to change if they are not helped to develop new skills, not provided the basic resources needed to function in the change environment, and not shown how their fears will be addressed. Higher education stakeholders in a national bicultural educational setting, such as Cameroon, tend to be more accepting of reform and harmonization when an internationally recognized model serves as the basis of reform.

Subject Area

Educational change--Cameroon, Education--Cameroon, Education, Higher--Cameroon.