Learning math in Cameroon via the Web
By Murray Bourne, 07 Feb 2008
One of my readers is studying for an engineering degree in Cameroon. His name is Jam.
He first wrote requesting:
I would like topics like fourier series, log functions, Trigonometry functoins, Calculus and exponential functions. Please I am a Cameroonian.
That was immediately interesting to me. Here is someone who is studying engineering mathematics in Cameroon - and using the Web to do it. Not knowing much about that country, I did some digging.
Cameroon has 18 million people and a per capita GDP of $2421. Life expectancy is just 51 years.
Cameroon's history is typical of many of its African neighbours. Since the Portuguese discovered it in 1472, there have been waves of European missionaries and colonizers, including the Germans, French and English. Ethnic and religious tensions are a constant part of life.
In the early 1960s the Federal Republic of Cameroon gained its independence.
According to Wikipedia on Cameroon's education:
Most children have access to free, state-run schools or subsidised, private and religious facilities. The educational system is a mixture of British and French precedents with most instruction in English or French. Cameroon has one of the highest school attendance rates in Africa. Girls attend school less regularly than boys do because of cultural attitudes, domestic duties, early marriage and pregnancy, and sexual harassment.
Back to Jam.
I asked him what he was studying and he replied:
I am studing down here in Cameroon in a private institution doing Electronics and hoping to become an Engineer in future.
Most of this topics I just study them alone in the house so I would like to have maximun surport from you. Thanks for your concern.
Later, he wrote:
Cameroon normally is a 3rd world country. So Education here is actually hard. The main problems I face down here are:
1-Insufficient text books. Especially on my field of studies Electronics.
2-Insufficient schools. Most technical schools are best on old information and old methods of teaching/learning.
3-Insufficient teachers on the technical fields.
4-Maximum poverty. All we can do is sell some farm produce and afford for the little school needs that we can afford for.
Times are hard but with me I have taken it upon my self that since I can afford for an 1hr at the net like this I will do my best to study hard .Solving mathematics for me brings me joy and helps me in all my Electronics circuit analysis Espercily the transformation of waves.
I don't have much hope doing this course in Cameroon because there is no technical University in Cameroon.
I am honored that he uses my Interactive Mathematics to learn his math during that frenzied one hour per week.
I asked him some more about how he managed without a technical university.
I am fine health wise.
Thanks for your good wishes. The question on how I want to have my qualification with no technical university was very very important. Even [th]ough it [made me] lose hopes. It is really hard to [talk about it] down here in Cameroon, but if some body like you [wants to listen,] I will talk.
On my qualification [from secondary school] I was thinking of doing a corresponding study with any university abroad. Secondly, I was thinking of going abroad too. With all of this in my mind I started studying, but my main problem here is the means to go abroad there is actually no money for me to do such a thing not to talk of studying. So what is really killing me here now is money. No sponsor, my parents poor and I feel like crying.
My time on the web is once a week not on a cyber cafe but on a friends Laptop at their job site. So he gives me only an hr a week for me to work on the web especially on maths and Electronics.
Thanks for your request for a photo of my self. I was comfortable with the idea but had none, so I had to look for money and do one before the end of today just to send it to you. I hope it is pleasing to you. Even [th]ough I am on racks.
Thanks see you. Hope to hear from you soon .
The photo is great, thanks Jam.
I wish you all the best with your studies and I am more than happy to help you with your mathematics study.
See the 5 Comments below.
12 Feb 2008 at 8:21 pm [Comment permalink]
It was good doing this article for me. I am please . But my hope is that you should continue to help me even as I study down here where they is no University. I f there any school you wish to help me do my correspondent study in I will be happy to appreciate the offer.
11 Apr 2008 at 7:38 pm [Comment permalink]
[...] around in tuition classes. To some of your peers with zero access to such educational luxuries, self-directed learning offers the only hope to a better [...]
6 Jun 2008 at 12:38 am [Comment permalink]
all i can say is I really treasure my education. In Singapore there're the kids who r in school, bu t don't want to study & yet in other countries, there's vice-versa.
6 Jun 2008 at 8:58 am [Comment permalink]
Most people only value things when they cannot get them easily.
You are so right - there's a huge gap between those who squander their ample educational opportunities, and those who cannot get anywhere because they have none.
Thanks for your input, "Anon" and I'm glad that you value your education.
7 Aug 2008 at 2:49 pm [Comment permalink]
Sadly, I thought this was one of those nigeria scam busts when I first glanced over the post.