All oral tests for candidates who have written competitive entrance examinations for recruitment into Cameroon’s public service will henceforth be conducted by videoconference, the country’s government announced last week. Public Service Minister Joseph Le, who announced on behalf of the government, said the move is part of wider plans by the central African nation to digitize its public service system, by shifting away from the anachronistic way of doing things.

The move, he added, is also intended to render the civil service more modern and user-friendly.

β€œThis move to simply and dematerialize the public service is possible thanks to the availability of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) which are increasingly occupying a significant place in the public administration of our country,” Le said at a press conference in the Eastern city of Bertoua on 30 September, as he announced the development.

Cameroon's Public Service Minister Joseph Le speaks at a press conference in the Eastern city of Bertoua on 30 September 2020 to announce videoconferencing will be adopted for public service recruitment.

As per the new method, candidates who have been declared successful in the written part of public service recruitment tests will be invited to centers that will be set up in the headquarters of the ten administrative regions for the oral section of the exams. They will then take the oral quizzes at those centers conducted examiners in Yaounde via videoconference.

Before now, such oral exams needed the physical presence of the candidate and the exercise was organized only in the capital, Yaounde. This used to put candidates in locations far away from the capital, in difficulties, as they were forced to incur huge costs traveling - usually within very short deadlines.

The Cameroon Public Service boss said practical measures have already been taken to furnish the regional hosting centers with the appropriate installations needed for videoconferencing. Some of the equipment he mentioned include high-quality cameras, high-speed internet, and other accessories.

The announcement to organize oral sessions of public service exams in Cameroon by videoconference mood comes just weeks after a plan to digitize the process of registering for such examinations was rolled out.

The use of videoconferencing for official meetings in Cameroon has become common since the new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) broke out in the country on 6 March 2020. Government meetings including the monthly session of cabinet ministers, which is presided over by Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute, have since been held via videoconference.

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