Convert Ghana School of Law into Council for Professional Legal Education — Management

BY: Nana Konadu-Agyeman
Mr Maxwell Opoku Agyeman, delivering his address at the annual Re-Akoto lectures held at the Ghana School of Law campus, Accra. Some of the students at the lectures. Picture: EMMANUEL ASAMOAH ADDAI
Mr Maxwell Opoku Agyeman, delivering his address at the annual Re-Akoto lectures held at the Ghana School of Law campus, Accra. Some of the students at the lectures. Picture: EMMANUEL ASAMOAH ADDAI

The management of the Ghana School of Law has proposed to the General Legal Council to consider converting the institution into a Council for Professional Legal Education as part of the processes to revert to the proposed two-year law programme.

It said with departments for accreditation, monitoring and evaluation, curriculum development and independent examination body, various faculties could be accredited to offer both academic and professional courses.

“Only those with accredited institutions will have their students taking the bar examination which will be conducted by the Council for Professional Education, which is the law school. They will write their exams multiple times and those who pass will be called to the bar and those who would not pass will try again,” it said.

Entrance depression

At the Ghana School of Law’s annual Re-Akoto lectures in Accra yesterday, a Senior Lecturer of the school, Mr Maxwell Opoku Agyeman, said: “If we are able to do that, the whole issue of entrance examination and the depression that is associated with it will be minimised; then of course people will have the opportunity to undergo the full course waiting to pass the exams and to be called to the bar. As we have it now, we have so many qualified LLBs and if we do not take care they will start practising in various jurisdictions because even now some are called lawyers and after so many years of writing entrance examinations, you become competent enough to practise and it is something we cannot afford,” he stated.

He added that “the essence of reform is to produce better result; reform should not take us back and if in the age of ICT we are suffering the way we are, then it is time to think again and look at the reforms,” he stated.


The lecture coincided with the school’s 59th Student Representative Council (SRC) Law Week celebration held on the theme: “60 years of legal education: The way forward.”

Collapse school

Responding to a question on whether the Ghana School of Law could be sustained for the next 60 years, Mr Agyeman said the institution currently had 17 faculties, with 1,800 applicants “knocking the doors of this small school.”

“The first intake of the school was 13 and, therefore, the urinals and toilets were provided for 13 people; now with 520 students, it is by divine intervention that students do not suffer diarrhoea,” he said.

Some of the students at the lectures

On the way forward, he stated that the school’s management was of the opinion that the “school should be collapsed since it cannot contain the numbers that we are producing.

“Even if we establish multiple campuses, we have proposed to the Council to convert this school into a Council for Professional Legal Education,” he stressed.

Examinations

The senior lecturer said currently students at the law school were required to take exams for 10 subjects that were crammed between May and September.

“I believe this is not fair and that is the more reason anytime they tell me the students are dumb, I say no they are not; because if some of us had been given these subjects that had been crammed, we would have failed. So it is up to us to look at the programme again and not rush people to do 10 subjects. I am happy we are now going back to five or six subjects in the first semester and the rest in the second year so as to pave the way for more practical orientation, court vocations, clinicals and bring in people to upgrade students’ practical knowledge,” he said.

Going forward, he said, management had proposed that students would use four months of their course to do their internship and two months for reporting as a way of giving them some rest to allow them to prepare from one semester to the other.

He said it was time permanent lecturers were recruited, questioning the essence of recruiting part-time lecturers who only spent limited time with their students.

Reconsider decoupling

Mr Agyeman called for the re-introduction of the former system where lecturers were more relevant to their students and part of examining them to find out whether their students were competent to write exams on subjects they had taught.

“We are, therefore, proposing that the so-called decoupling of examination and lecturers should be reconsidered because it was based on a wrong assumption in the sense that they said WAEC and ICA conduct examination for people and they do not teach them, but they have forgotten that the ICA has no school, neither has WAEC a senior high school but the Ghana School of Law has a faculty and the two are not the same,” he stated.

Writer’s email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.