By Mesumbe Neville & Ndah Hope
The 2018 annual presidential excellence award that is supposed to be distributed to meritorious students across State Universities in Cameroon is taking a longer period than expected. The accolade which comes in the form of FCFA 50,000 is given to students who must have ascertained at least 2.5 GPA, in all government higher institutions.
Memory lane, the grant is usually distributed in the months of October and early November so as to enable students pay their tuition fees as well as take care of other expenditures.
The delay in this year’s distribution has raised eye brows on the part of students as to whether the government has suddenly forgotten about them or if she is using the money to repay the 75 billion francs loan that was used to purchase the 500,000 PBHEV laptops.)
According to a disgruntled student in the University of Buea, Ayuk Clovis, he told Atlantic Chronicle that despite his eligibility in 2017, he did not received the grant because his batch (2015/2016 academic year) was left out during the compilation of the list.
Though these frustrations exist, others like Odette; an outgoing student from the English department,University of Buea says she remains indifferent as to whether the grant is given or not; since her life does not depend on it. “I was frustrated the last time in 2017, when my batch was ‘denied’ access to this meritorious excellence award from the Head of State. Ever since then, I do not care so much about the award since my main aim in this University is to acquire knowledge not presidential grants.” She said
In a quest for authentic information that surrounds this year Presidential Excellence Award, Atlantic Chronicles visited the Director of Student Affairs Office in the University of Buea. Though the Director was not on sit, Mr Paul-Gerard Defouen, Head of Service for Students’ Assistance and Welfare maintained that, as of now, there is no information from the higher authorities about the said grant. “I will advise the students to be patient. In case such information surfaces, radio announcements will be made and notices which include distribution units will be pasted on campus”.
The hopes of some meritorious students is fading off; especially that of outgoing students who had made numerous plans in anticipation to the award. This is the case with Che Jervis, a 400 level accounting student in UB. He recounted that It is very uncertain that they will receive the presidential award this year. “I will be very disappointed if it is not given because it will shatter my financial plans; nevertheless, I will not retaliate against the administration in any way to demonstrate my disappointment.”
Others while expressing their disappointment blamed the current socioeconomic crisis-rocking the English speaking regions of Cameroon to be the principal factor causing the delay of this year’s presidential grant.
The students continue to beckon on the government to provide them with this year’s grant. Their fervent request is in line with the saying that “it is better to be late than never.”