Law students petition Parliament over mass failure

BY: Musah Yahaya Jafaru
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Students of the Ghana School of Law have petitioned the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye, to set up a committee of enquiry to investigate the recent high rate of failure among students of the school.

They also want the committee to consider their claim that some of the questions set in examinations were outside the syllabus assigned to them by the authorities of the school.

The students are also considering a number of possibilities, including boycotting lectures, to register their displeasure regarding the current Legal Profession Regulations 2018 (LI 2355), which covers professional and post-call law courses.

At a student forum in Accra last Friday, the students complained about LI 2355, particularly the section that states that a student will be repeated if he or she fails in three out of 10 papers.

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Mass failures

According to the recent results released by the Independent Examinations Committee of the General Legal Council, out of 525 students who sat for the Law exams, only 64 passed in all the papers.

Two hundred and eighty-four students were asked to repeat and rewrite all the 10 courses of programmes they registered, while 177 others who were referred in various papers will have to resit those papers.

The examination papers were Criminal Procedure, Civil Procedure, Company and Commercial Practice, Law Practice Management, Legal Accountancy, Evidence and Interpretation, Conveyancing and Drafting.

Petition to Parliament

When the students visited Parliament House yesterday, they were denied access to the inner perimeter and only their leaders were allowed onto the premises to present their petition.

The Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, and the Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, received the petition on behalf of the Speaker.

The two leaders pledged that the Speaker would set up a committee to look into the issue of high rate of examination failure.

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the House would treat the petition with all the seriousness that it deserved to address the concerns of the students.

For his part, Mr Iddrisu said the committee would look into the causes of the high rate of failure and the future of legal education in the country.

He said once the country was practising democracy, legal education was very crucial because of the issues of fundamental human rights.

Therefore, he said, there was the need to initiate a national conversation to re-examine and expand legal education.

Mr Iddrisu said the high rate of failure of law students could not be explained, a situation which called for a thorough examination and overhaul of the process.

Students’ concern

In his remarks, the President of the Students Representative Council of the Ghana School of Law, Mr Emmanuel Kwabena Owusu Amoah, said the students did not know the reasons for the high rate of failure.

He said brilliant students were admitted to the Law School and expressed surprise as to why only about 10 per cent of them passed their final examination.

He claimed that some of the questions in the examination came from outside the assigned syllabus.

Mr Amoah said the students would meet with the members of the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs on Thursday and also present a petition to the President on Monday.