Meeting under the theme “The contribution of support staff to the appropriation of the concept of quality in the university community”, members of the commission centered their deliberations on the amelioration of working and living conditions of the support staff of state universities.
Prof Emmanuel Ngamani, head of the division for the promotion of dialogue and solidarity in universities at the Ministry of Higher Education acknowledged that support staff constitute one of the three components that make up the university institution (others being teachers and students) without whom the university cannot function. Thus, they have to be comfortable with the concepts of quality and efficiency that will move their institutions forward.
Mrs Esther Lisinge, head of the personnel division at the University of Buea told NewsWatch that the university in question has made significant efforts towards facilitating work for them at the institution. However, insufficient finances and the non-training of new recruits are drawbacks to quality and efficiency.
“Many people are recruited into the university with good qualifications but without experience. This draws back the activities of the university”, she said. Another problem she said is that unavailability of finances: “Most support staff lack equipment; secretaries cannot be very efficient without computers, printers, photocopiers and internet access”.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the session, Prof Jacques Fames Ndongo, Minister of Higher Education and Chancellor of Academic Orders said the roles of the support staff of state universities are spelt out in their job description which clarifies their missions and level of responsibilities. He reminded the support staff of state universities that their preoccupations have been integrated into the daily management of university institutions.
It was in 2001 that support staff of State universities started the fight for the improvement of their working conditions. The decree regulating these working conditions was ultimately signed by the president of the republic in 2012.
Representatives of support staff from the universities of Bamenda and Maroua were attending the session for the first time.