A law lecturer at the University of Ghana, Dr. Opoku Adusei, has described as disappointing the fact that over 80% of students who sat for the final exams of the Ghana School of Law in May 2017 failed.
He attributed the mass failure to a number of factors including the one-year Ghana School of Law programme which he said leaves students with limited time to study.
[contextly_sidebar id=”ZJE1BSrSoIISMs64iUISxG8mq4ecp62o”]“When I heard the news and read it, I said this is disastrous,” he said on the Citi Breakfast Show on Wednesday.
“…The statistics we have point to the fact that out of the over 500 students who sat for the exams, only 91 students passed in all 10 courses,” the school’s SRC President, Samuel Gyamfi told Citi News earlier.
The SRC, which expressed anger over the issue had earlier called for the school’s Independent Examinations Board, which conducted the exams and was responsible for the marking of the scripts, to be scrapped, describing it as a threat to legal education in Ghana, after only 91 of the over 500 students passed the exams.
The law lecturer also complained that the reduction of the number of years students spent on campus from two to one, is “a travesty of justice.”
“That decision to actually transition from the two-year classroom work which was compressed to one year was a serious travesty of justice. I had occasions where when I was in the school of law Legon, acting on behalf of the dean then, in deans meeting, it came up strongly that the decision was poorly thought through by the General Legal Council because it was not serving any purpose. You finish all the academic work in one year and unleash unto the field for a couple of months to go and do what is called internship.”
“These are internships that may not really add a lot to your study. Then you come, you are called to the bar. I think that period is a wasted period and should have been added to the classroom work. They have to think of just going back to the system that existed in the past where academic year was for two years.”
Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show, the law lecturer also blamed the leadership of the Ghana School of Law for the mass failure rate.
He also raised concerns with the setting of questions and marking of scripts by the school’s Independent Examinations Board instead of the lecturers.
“It borders on a number of issues. When we entered law school, the system that was being run was that you knew who was setting the question because they were the people who were teaching the courses. The other bit is that since they were the ones who set the questions they were the ones who marked. So you could have that level of predictability in terms of answering the questions.”
“When we were in law school, and as it existed then, we had the courses being taken in two years. There was later, a bit of transitioning into a new arrangement, where all the courses were now being taken in a year. If you are going by it…students basically had very short period of rest in between and all the time they had to work. So those are some of the factors which I believe might have contributed to this disastrous outcome,” he added.
Controversy over LI
The development comes at a time when Parliament is debating an LI brought before it by the General Legal Council (GLC); the body that oversees the legal profession and legal education in Ghana.
The LI, if endorsed by Parliament will see the legalization of entrance examination and interview processes by the GLC for prospective law students.
The GLC insists the measures will ensure only qualified persons are admitted to produce quality lawyers in the country. However, some have suggested that the recent failure makes nonsense of the processes, and emphasizes on the need for focus to be placed on restructuring the school’s curriculum.
By: Godwin Akweiteh Allotey/citifmonline.com/Ghana