The history of The University of Bamenda is inextricably linked to that of the Cameroon College of Arts, Science and Technology (CCAST) and Ecole Normale Supérieure Annex (ENSAB) Bambili. The University of Bamenda germinated out of a local initiative hatched in 1962 following reforms in the Educational Policy of West Cameroon. The process was facilitated by the then Prime Minister and later Vice President of the Federal Republic of Cameroon Dr. John Ngu Foncha. Foncha’s vision rested on the standard of higher learning reflective of the Nigerian Colleges of Arts, Science and Technology (NCAST). This wish was even more urgent because by 1961, the number of university graduates was grossly inadequate to cope with the senior staff demands of the new nation state. There were slightly over twenty university graduates in the Southern Cameroons by 1962 and the top civil service jobs by dint of this limitation were dominated by expatriates, mostly Nigerians and British.
It was in dire need to allay this problem that the West Cameroon Government through its Education Policy Paper of July 1963 envisaged CCAST as a future college of the Federal University of Cameroon created in 1962. In the context of the imagination, it was to assume the status of an American Junior College or the English Polytechnic. This dream was somehow constrained by logistics and human resources. This perhaps explains why in 1963 when CCAST was transferred from its temporary site at GTTC Kumba to Bambili, USAID came in to lend support to firmly establish the institution, especially in the Science Department. This took place under the auspices of Dr. David Laird, USAID Adviser on Education, and Dr. William Stanley, Adviser on Science of Education. Mr. H. O. H. Vernon Jackson from the United States became the pioneer Principal. The USAID ground breaking mission was quite brief (1962 to 1963). Mr. Sylvester Dioh stands out prominent as one of the key Cameroonian figures in the early development of CCAST Bambili. In December 1963, CCAST was transferred to its present site in Bambili and Dioh appointed as Principal.
Between 1964 and 1966, landmark initiatives took place in CCAST which inaugurated the forty-three years (1967-2010) march towards an Anglo-Saxon styled University of Bamenda. Early in 1964 when Mr. (and later Dr.) Elias M. Nwana assumed interim responsibility as Principal of CCAST while Dioh went abroad for further studies, they thought it prudent to allay the acute dearth of trained teachers in Anglophone Cameroon secondary schools by giving a one-year pedagogic training to GCE A-Level holders to equip them with contents and aptitudes to teach in secondary schools. Besides, it was also a unique opportunity for Grade II teachers who were admitted along with secondary school leavers to prepare themselves for entry into universities. In 1966, the initiative was put in place and an Advanced College of Education attached to the then CCAST Bambili was initiated. A dozen students were enrolled to take the course.
The University of BAMENDA was created by Decree n° 2010/371 of the 14th December 2010. The last of the eight state Universities in Cameroon as primary concern, to achieve the goals attributed to all the state Universities which include: