CIMA Student, Nkunde C Mbong, who is on the management level on CIMA and faces the MCS exam in November, shares her experience of being a CIMA student in Cameroon and the challengers she faces.
image from CIMA connect
Being a CIMA Student in Cameroon
Cameroon is a country in the Central Region of Africa with about 25 million people. However, despite this population, there are only 7 CIMA members in Cameroon as of September 2016 and only one CIMA tuition/learning partner, gaining this status late last year – 2015.
This should let you know, CIMA in Cameroon hasn’t been very popular.
However, there is currently a healthy growing population of CIMA students, but the journey is still not a smooth one. Before Cameroon finally got a CIMA tuition provider, CIMA students generally had to self study or travel out of the country to engage in CIMA.
Most students here choose to self study and it was a great challenge where to get the CIMA texts! A common solution was to have them ordered from Ghana for those who could afford, which wasn’t an easy feat.
Even with the texts, self study proved difficult especially when studying alone as there weren’t many other CIMA students to study with [and that’s if at all you even knew one, because I didn’t when I started]. Moreover, some concepts were extremely difficult to understand without further explanations, and there weren’t known CIMA members to seek help from.
Further, with the then really bad connectivity issues in the country, making proper use of online resources wasn’t really an option.
The challenges ahead
Doing CIMA was just a challenge to many and it just tells me anybody who chose to do CIMA then, among the other more popular professional options available, really knew the benefits and difference in being CIMA certified.
The challenges were numerous!
Using old texts, texts not arriving on time, if ever, having to travel far away to write the then paper based exams, having to still pay PEARSON VUE centres because they complain of not having many students who register to write with them, and the greatest challenge was just sitting studying by yourself, with no support whatsoever because your family and friends have no idea about the relevance of what you are studying, it being so unpopular in Cameroon.
You see, the idea and advice in Cameroon is “Do something which sells” – CIMA was unknown and therefore wasn’t selling like other professional certifications in the field.
Eventually, the tendency was many students failed to complete and become certified especially when they got a job which gave them a level of comfort because our employers too didn’t know CIMA. Some just altogether gave up because of all the challenges.
A new dawn for students in Cameroon
However, last year 2015, the 7 CIMA members in Cameroon driven by their passion for CIMA decided to come together and create a better platform for the CIMA students and members in Cameroon.
They decided to forge an enhanced path for CIMA students and prospects, gain recognition and ultimately let Cameroon know that we are a unique brand, business leaders who will soon take over reign in companies and institutions.
It was like a new dawn in Cameron for CIMA. They organised the first CIMA seminar and participants were made up of some CIMA students and others, and they were informed about CIMA and its benefits.
Many students were encouraged to continue as the CIMA members pledged their support to them. Alas, the CIMA students were excited to meet CIMA members! Later that year, we got our very first tuition partner in Cameroon!!
Members and students were very excited at this progress. Students could now get books from Cameroon and have the option to study full time or part time from our own CIMA learning partner, along with other benefits!
What good news it was for us students.
By April 2016, following another CIMA orientation seminar, attended now by even more students as the news of CIMA was getting around and the network was growing, an executive body was created by a unanimous decision to steer CIMA activities in Cameroon, made up of CIMA students and members.
Students connecting and sharing ideas
From then on, whats-app groups were created and students were able to know each other, and study with others depending on their CIMA level or just provide support.
This was when I also met for the first time someone at my level – I was so excited to discuss my struggles and difficulties with someone I knew was in the same level with me – and would therefore understand. This was the same type of exchange going on among many other CIMA students now across Cameroon.
We shared ideas, exchanged resources and directed others where/how to get help from the now available online resources with our now much better internet connection, and how to go about simple processes such as connecting with other students worldwide via CIMAconnect.
We were all now connected to each other, and surprisingly, the network kept growing! Who knew there were so many CIMA students in Cameroon – all struggling in their own corner.
Next, it was another seminar targeting college students (as prospects) and employers, and the CIMA Cameroon steering committee just kept creating a really good platform for us students to succeed.
Limited materials from learning partners
As it is, the CIMA community in Cameroon is now growing and learning has become much easier. Many who dropped out, are now getting interested again and some more are registering as students. The struggle was real, but it’s not all gone.
As our learning partner is still in it’s infancy, it doesn’t yet offer tuition for all levels and some students located in different towns are unable to benefit from the tuition they provide, but the CIMA Cameroon steering Committee is really a great support now to the students and as mentors too.
Basically, the common challenges now are those which I believe are common to many CIMA students such as fees etc. We are now a proud CIMA community in Cameroon!
There will be more insights from Nkunde in the coming months as she progresses further in her CIMA journey.
You can follow her on twitter here