Placed under the coordination of Mr Gaston WOUAFEU, senior guidance counselor, the Project known as School, University and vocational counselling pilot Centre (COSUP) is an initiative of the Government of Cameroon acting through the Ministry of Employment and Vocational Training (MINEFOP) and firmly committed to eradicating unemployment and underemployment. Figures from the 2005 Survey on Employment and the Informal Sector (EESI 2005) showed a youth unemployment rate of 10% nationwide, with peaks of 21 and 20% in the two major cities (Yaoundé and Douala respectively).
The most outstanding factor contributing to endemic unemployment referred to as a “social cancer” by the President of the Republic of Cameroon, His Excellency Paul Biya, is the lack of a coordinated counseling policy at the secondary, university and vocational levels.
Indeed, a diagnosis of the counselling sector has revealed the following specific shortcomings:
- Weakness of the institutional and legal framework;
- Lack of psychotechnical equipment and tools;
- Non consideration of guidance as a strategy both in the productive and educational sectors;
- Qualitative and quantitative insufficiency of human resources in guidance and counselling;
- Absence of specialized guidance and counselling structures;
- Lack of synergy between different actors involved in guidance and counselling.
It is in full awareness of the stakes behind guidance and mindful of the absence of a pilot centre on the promotion of decent and productive jobs that MINEFOP, in partnership with other ministeries (Basic Education, Secondary Education, Higher Education, Youth Affairs, Social Affairs, Labour and Social Security) undertook to develop a national guidance policy since 2007.
In this regard, the Republic of Switzerland and the Canton of Geneva through the Office pour l’orientation, la Formation Professionnelle et Continue OFPC (Office for guidance, vocational and further training) supported the organization of a national seminar in March 2008 to develop this policy.
Among the recommendations of the seminar was the creation of secondary, university and vocational guidance and counselling centres accessible to all audiences.
This project which is the first of its kind in Cameroon, is in perfect harmony with measures announced by the President of the Republic to promote socio-professional integration in general and for youths in particular.