A joint monitoring team from the National Accreditation Board (NAB) and the General Legal Council (GLC) last Monday embarked on an assessment visit to the University of Ghana Law Faculty.
The purpose of the visit was to enable the team to obtain first-hand information on the quality of legal education being offered at the faculty and also to find out the challenges confronting the faculty as far as teaching and learning of Law programmes were concerned.
Leading the delegation from the GLC were a Supreme Court Judge, Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah; the Director of Legal Education at the Ghana School of Law, Mr Kwasi Prempeh-Eck; the President of the Ghana Bar Association, Mr Anthony Forson, and the Executive Director of NAB, Dr Kingsley Nyarko.
Dr Nyarko remarked that NAB and GLC had a common goal towards ensuring that tertiary institutions offering professional legal education adhered to underlying regulations and practices expected of them.
In view of that, the monitoring team looked at the quality of legal education offered by the Law Faculty, focusing on issues such as number of lecturers, availability of teaching and learning materials and general performance of students.
The team raised concerns with the number of lecturers at the Law Faculty, wondering how the 21 lecturers, with 17 currently in active service, could make meaningful impact on teaching, considering the huge number of students.
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"If you have 600 students at the faculty with only 17 lecturers, then it means there is a lot of work on you that needs to be addressed," Justice Anin Yeboah said.
According to him, the shortfall in the teaching staff had the tendency to prevent the Law lecturers from active legal practice, and that situation, he said, could affect the delivery of the lecturers in the classroom.
The team also raised concerns about the faculty’s library and the learning materials available for academic work, and stressed the need for the library to get a lot of law reports in addition to the online soft copies.
The team also suggested the training of more lawyers as librarians to provide useful services at the Law Faculty’s library.
The acting Dean of the Law Faculty, Dr Samuel Manteaw, said proper measures had been put in place to enhance the academic work of students, and that was evident in the alumni that the faculty had produced over the years.
Highlighting on these measures, he said in addition to organising tutorial lectures, the faculty had an academic mentorship programme and a strict regulation to deal with matters of truancy among the students.
He also said with an average admission of 140 students a year, the faculty also taught subjects such as Logic and English to adequately prepare students for their Professional Law Examinations.
He also added that the faculty did follow-ups on the progress of its students who gained admission into the Ghana School of Law in order to monitor their performance.
A major concern raised by the lecturers bordered on a policy by the government which states that only persons with doctorate degrees should be employed to teach at the universities.
One lecturer, Mr Kissi Adjabeng, in expressing this concern, said the policy could negatively affect legal education.
“There are many lawyers who want to become lecturers but not many of them are willing to do their PhD only to teach," he said.
The faculty, therefore, called on the government to reconsider its stance on the decision and expressed the hope that the monitoring team would push that agenda.
Meanwhile, the monitoring team will write its recommendations and suggest ways that will help the faculty improve upon its mandates.
The results released by the Independent Examinations Committee of the General Legal Council in March this year showed that only 64 students out of the about 800 students passed in all papers.
In 2018, students of the school took a series of actions in protest of the Bar examination results, which were also poor.
Also, more than 80 per cent of students who wrote the examination in May 2017 failed, as only 91 out of the over 500 candidates passed.
This assesment comes in the wake of these mass failures, which has necessitated the need to find the best ways possible to deal with the situation.