The idea to start the Université des Montagnes (UdM) sprang up from a deep reflection on the state of Higher Education in Cameroon initiated in the years 1990’s by men and women from the academic world, from the business world and from different professional categories, acting as members of the Association for Education and Development (AED).
As a result of their cogitation, they came to the conclusion that the State of Cameroon, in spite of the creation of new State universities, could no longer meet all the needs of young Cameroonians in the area of training. Consequently, these youngsters emigrate in their thousands in search of training opportunities in foreign universities.
It also appeared to AED that it was particularly important to promote in our country a university training deeply rooted not only in our cultural and socio-economic environment, but also into the Central African sub-region. To achieve these goals, UdM meant to:
- Break new grounds by initiating training in areas non-existent or poorly represented in the university landscape in Cameroon and in the Central African sub-region.
- Set up a training and self-fulfillment environment attractive and convincing enough to limit the mass exodus of youngsters towards foreign countries.
- Promote a real interaction between the academic and the professional world.
After an incubation and maturation period of a decade, UdM became a reality in October 2000 when it welcomed its first students on the provisional campus of Mfetum at Bangangté (Western region of Cameroon).
The permanent campus of UdM (a gift from the paramount chief of Bangangté) is located at Banekane, 12 kms away from Mfetum. The teaching hospital known as Cliniques Universitaires des Montagnes (CUM) opened its doors in 2010 and, since the beginning of the academic year 2011-2012, other academic buildings have been put up. AED is relentlessly searching for funds to build enough infrastructures so that the whole academic community should gradually move to Banekane. In this connection, it was able to secure from the French Development Agency (AFD) a low interest loan of slightly above CFA 5 billion. Construction activities which are scheduled to last two years should start by February 2015.
UdM is contributing its share in the process of writing some of the most beautiful pages of the history of university training in Cameroon and the Central African sub-region.
UdM is the first institution of Higher Learning to train professionals in bio-medical engineering in Cameroon. The first batch of students trained in this area graduated in 2005. UdM will also be remembered in history as the first institution of Higher Learning which gave Cameroon its first pharmacists trained in Cameroon. The first batch of these pharmacists has been on the job market since 2008.
Training in dental surgery and veterinary medicine began in 2008 while the doors of our schools of nursing opened in 2009. As a result, for the time in Cameroon, all the main areas of training in Health sciences are, today, covered in the same institution. The first batch of nurses graduated in 2012. The first batch of dental surgeons “made in Cameroon” will graduate in 2014 at the same time as the first batch of veterinary doctors.
After Kinshasa and Yaoundé, the panel of examiners for the award of the doctoral degree in medicine sat for the first time in-situ between October 24th and November 3rd 2011, thus inaugurating a new era in academic mentoring with the University of Toulouse (France).
In Computer science, computer network and telecommunications, UdM graduates are employed by the private and public sectors. It is worthy of note that some of them are continuing their studies in various universities throughout the world.
Since UdM started in the year 2000, it has been enjoying a very strong support from the Cameroonian public at large as well as from an international network of sympathizers and their friends in the Cameroonian Diaspora in Europe and North America. Testimonies collected from various circles confirm the fact that the national community has pinned its hopes on the UdM project because of the professional orientation in its areas of training.
The work to accomplish is immense. The promoters of UdM are conscious of the difficulties to overcome. They know what is at stake. Yet, their determination is unfailing. The collaboration of all and sundry in the building of this project will always be welcome.
The distance to travel in order to consolidate what has been already achieved is still long, very long. Yet, in fourteen years of existence, UdM moved from 43 students in 2000-2001 to 1857 in 2013-2014. UdM has trained up to 384 medical doctors, 104 pharmacists, 21 nurses, 04 physiotherapists, 45 computer specialists,162 specialists in bio-medical engineering, 71 specialists in computer network and telecommunications, that is to say 840 graduates in various fields. The student population come not only from the ten regions of Cameroon but also from ten different African Countries.
Promoter: The Association for Education and Development (AED)
Name: Université des Montagnes
Motto : Semper Altissime Ascendere (Excellence is our permanent goal)
First year of existence: 2000
Ministerial order authorizing its existence: 02/0126/MINESUP/DDES of October 29 2002