MPs call for national conference on legal education

Members of Parliament have called upon the Attorney General and Minister of Justice to constitute a national conference on legal education in Ghana to create a platform for resolving academic challenges at the Ghana School of Law (GSL).
The proposal follows recommendations by the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to the General Legal Council to initiate processes for review of the Legal Profession (Professional and Post-Call Law Course) Regulations, 2018 (LI2355).
The proposed review is expected to provide procedures for selection of examiners; appointment of members of the Independent Examination Committee (IEC) and compulsory delivery of marking schemes and examiners’ reports to the Academic Board of the school.
This recommendation constitute part of observations and recommendations the Committee made in a report to the House on a petition by professional law students seeking review of results of the 2017/2018 new professional law course examinations.
Chairman of the Committee, Ben Abdallah Banda who presented the report to the House expressed the Committee’s concern about the worsening performance of professional law students in the New Professional Law Course Examination.
According to him, analysis of official results of the professional law examinations reveal exponential drop in the performance of students under the New Professional Law Course, which started in 2016.
He said, ” Prior to the introduction of the new professional course, the average performance of students in the examination stood around 70% but that has reduced sharply under the new course to about 15%.”
He indicated that lecturers of the GSL essentially concurred with the submissions of the law students and maintained though they have on many occasions requested the IEC to furnish them with copies of its examiners report and marking scheme, none of these critical documents have been given.
The Committee, he said, views this quite worrying because of the usefulness of the two documents to both lecturers and law students.
The committee expressed fear the trend would continue if urgent measures are not taken to reverse it and recommended the GCL to among other actions make all marking schemes and examiners report available to lecturers and law students and also reduce the current remarking fee from GHS 3,000 to GHS 500.
The report also urged the IEC to hold supplementary examinations for all referred candidates in the 2018 professional law course examination in a timely manner to ensure successful candidates are enrolled this year.
Minority leader, Haruna Iddrissu, called for urgent need to address the situation before it gets out of hand and stressed that as the country’s democratic credentials gather strength and demands for various human rights continue the need for people with legal expertise and backgrounds would increase.
He said, “We need more young people trained as lawyers to serve our country in many respects and in various endeavors.”
He appealed to the House to request the Attorney General to convene a national conference on the future of legal and professional education to enable the country take stock of how far it has come.
He indicated that the tendency to set questions outside the scope of recommended lecture manuals, which has led to the massive failures at the law school, should not be tolerated.
The law students, he said, are required to be examined based on suggested instruction booklets and therefore extending questions beyond this requirement is not only unfair but unjust.

By Osumanu Al-Hassan/

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