The Africa Education Watch (Eduwatch) has asked the the management of the Ghana School of Law to admit the 499 LLB students who were unfairly denied admission.
Eduwatch said it noted with disappointment, the unfair treatment being meted out to 499 applicants to the Ghana School of Law by denying them admissions after they had passed the entry examinations.
The action by the Ghana School of Law, according to Eduwatch, smacks of an attempt to unfairly impose a quota on the number of admissions and lawyers produced, for no justifiable reason, especially when data from the Labour Market suggests not only a shortage in the supply of lawyers in Ghana, but an increase in their demand.
“This action of the Ghana School of Law contradicts government’s own agenda of doubling tertiary enrolment by 2030, and creating equal opportunities for career progression and skills development as a means of curbing graduate unemployment. How would the Government of Ghana attract more students into tertiary education when graduates from our law faculties, even after passing the Law School’s entrance exams, cannot gain admission to the Ghana School of Law?
“Over the past ten years, the annual backlog of law faculty graduates who are denied access to professional legal education on the basis of Ghana School of Law’s unfair admission quotas is a key contributor to graduate unemployment in Ghana, and a major source of frustration among the youth.
“Globally, training institutions have adopted virtual learning systems and technologies to sustain and increase access to legal education in the face of limited physical infrastructure and the COVID-19 pandemic effect.
“Should there be genuine concerns regarding limited physical space, the Ministry of Education through the various tertiary institutions have enormous experiences in managing high numbers through virtual schooling initiatives, which should never pose a challenge to the Ghana School of Law adopting to admit the 499 students into a virtual school.
“We call on the Ghana School of Law to admit the 499 students either as in-person or virtual students, in line with government’s tertiary education policy.
“We urge the Ghana School of Law to develop a virtual learning infrastructure to increase its student intake in successive years, to run simultaneously with on-going brick and mortar expansion strategies. We call on His Excellency the President to intervene in this act of injustice,” a statement said on Wednesday October 13.
This statement comes after two thousand LLB candidates who sat for the 2020/2021 academic year Ghana School of Law 2021 Entrance Exams failed in the exams.
Students from the various law faculties across the country who sat for the exam, only 790 of them passed representing approximately 28% while the failure represents 72%.
The GLC, the body in charge of legal education in Ghana has come under firefor this development especially it applied a new requiring candidates to pass 50% in each of the two sections A and B in the exam, a rule did not exist prior to the examination.
The General Legal Council received flak for this development.
For instance, Private legal practitioner, Martin Kpebu, criticised the GLC for applying a rule it set after the 2020/2021 law school entrance examination.
Mr Kpebu stated that the GLC which is made up of best of the best lawyers in the country is aware that retrospective application of rules or orders have very limited space in Ghana hence, they should not have applied it in the examination.
Speaking on the Key Points onTV3/3FM on Saturday October 9 with Dzifa Bampoh, Mr Kpebu said “I am hoping that they will do the needful.
“…It is quite embarrassing but it is part of our development process so now that they are coming under a lot of heat I am sure they will do the needful.”
The GLC has been petitioned by the Student Represntative Council of the Law School to relook into this matter.
Regarding the petition, Mr Kpebu said “The petition, as far as I understand was presented a few days ago so let us give at least a week then we will see whether they will do the needful because it is quite embarrassing.
“It is shocking that a candidate must pass both section A and B was not introduced before they went into the exams. For us as lawyers it is quite a bit tacky that the best of lawyers in the country will sit and then introduce the rule after the exams, it doesn’t look tidy at all but because the petition is before them we will want to be a bit circumspect and expect that they do the needful.
“The best of the best sit on the GLC and yet this simple thing that we know, you can’t make a rule after the event and ask that the rule should retrospectively affect the event, no. So far, in our constitution it is only when it comes to public finances that is when it is allowed that the government can spend ahead and then later go to parliament for a budget appropriation bill to be passed to make it legal .
“Besides that, it is not the norm to pass a rule after the event , so I am sure they will look at it otherwise it will make them look bad.”
For his part, a former Deputy Attorney General, Joseph Dindiok Kpemka, lamented the knee-jerk approach to resolving issues relating to the law school entrance examination that lead to mass failures.
According to him, there have not been concrete steps taken to resolving these issues that come up yearly.
Contributing to this development, Mr Joseph Kpemka Dindiok told Dzifa Bampoh on the Key Points that “I have had opportunity of serving the General Legal Council (GLC) as Deputy Attorney General, the nominee of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General . I have made my inputs on this matter.
“It is unfortunate, all we do is that when this issue comes up yearly, we make all the noise after a week or two, that is the end of it. We wait, it comes again the following year, we make noise, after a week or two, it goes. There are no concrete steps put in place to nip this in the bud once and for all as a nation.
““The conversation seem to be one of a knee-jerk reaction to the release of results rather than a long term lasting solution that ought to be found without delay in this particular matter.
“I have heard the students make their compliant. It is true, the majority of us lawyers today did not go through what they are going through , it is act probably because of numbers those days. I recall that when I finished my LLB progrmme , the published the results and I walked to the Law School and filled the form and took my admission letter, that was all that happened. There was nothing like entrance exams or interview.”
Some lawmakers and observers have also criticised the GLC over this matter.
For instance, South Danyi Member of Parliament, Rockson Nelson Dafeamekpor 499 out of the 1289 law students who failed the entrance should have been admitted.
He said “A further release by the GLC of all exams results after public pressure would suggest that 1289 examinees met the minimum pass requirement of 50% in keeping with the known pass standard for all previous entrance exams conducted by the GLC.
“It is most bizarre therefore that 499 of the 1289 have not been considered eligible for admission into the GSL when indeed they scored a minimum of 50% or better.
“In attempt to explain this inconsistency of not admitting the 499 students, the GLC, through its director further released a notice on its Notice Board, setting out what clearly is an afterthought, and setting out an est post facto rationalization of the inconsistency. In the said notice, the director purports to set a previously unknown new standard of a pass of 50% in each of the two sections A and B in the exam.”
A former Director of the Ghana School of Law, Professor Kwaku Ansa Asare, also chastised the GLC for this development.
In the view of Prof Asare, the GLC lacks the competence to supervise any body to conduct entrance examination into the Ghana School of Law.
“Quite a number of them do not appear to understand and appreciate legal education. Most of them know next to nothing about legal education. The body, the General Legal Council, should have been scrapped soon after Ghana attained Republican Status.
“They should establish a National Council of Legal education to be made up of people who have the expertise,” Prof Asare said.