The Academic Writing Class with Professor Daniel Nkemleke

Neele-Frederike Mundt

University of Landau-Koblenz

(PhD student in residence at the Ecole Normale Supérieure, University of Yaoundé 1)

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After years of studying, all the effort comes to an end in the form of one important exam. For most of us, this comes in a form of a written work, an empirical study and numerous literature reviews that might haunt our consciousness for weeks, even months. Students put all their effort in their research, however it is also important to know how to present one’s results. While in Germany students are required to apply strategies to review current and relevant literature, students in Cameroon face a very different problem: access to research material, up to date studies or books.

Living in a globalized village has may advantages, for example enormous amounts of information are available at every minute and every hour of every day – as long as you have access to internet. It is one of the most significant inventions of the 20th century. Although the internet has spread its wings through central Africa, including Cameroon, access to it seems to be problematic for a lot of students. The internet leads the path away from small libraries that have not been filled with books since 1960; it takes away the excuse of missing ground breaking works, but this freedom has a price! Fast and unlimited internet access is only affordable by the rich and the majority – including teachers and researchers –  rely on the inconsistent, unreliable and slow connection that may or may not be found at the university. There is a certain degree of exclusivity attached to luxury goods, such as unlimited and fast internet.

Of course, this makes research more exhausting, it will take more effort and patience; however, it does not make research impossible! It is important to understand that the works produced in Cameroon are as outstanding as work produced around the globe. This is what is successfully taught in this academic writing class: it instructs students on how to participate in the field of academic research.

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