Parliament has urged the General Legal Council (GLC) to direct its Independent Examinations Committee (IEC) to re-mark the 2019 entrance Examination papers as requested by affected students represented by Association of Law Students.
The recommendation follows a written petition submitted to the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, copied to the Speaker of Parliament by failed students, after they staged a street protest against GLC of bad faith.
The IEC conducted last year’s entrance examination for admission to the Ghana School of Law (GSL) on July 26, 2019.
The results were released on October 7, 2019. The results showed that only 128 (representing 7%) out of the 1,820 candidates who wrote the examination passed, while 1,692 failed.
Following the release of the results, the National Association of Law Students staged a demonstration in Accra to protest against the mass failures and thereafter submitted a petition to the President, and copied the Speaker and other distinguished personalities and bodies.
The Speaker, Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye, subsequently referred the petition to the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for consideration and report pursuant to the Standing Orders of the House.
Moving the motion for debate to adopt the Committee’s report, the Chairman, Ben Abdullah Banda noted: “on the account of the controversies surrounding the results of the 2019 entrance examination for admission to the GSL, the Committee recommends to the GLC to commence the process for re-marking of scripts upon request and payment of reasonable fees.”
“The Committee considers that the current challenges confronting the country’s legal education system offer unique opportunity for us to carry out massive legislative and structural reforms towards finding lasting solution to the challenges in the system.”
In that regard, the Committee strongly recommends to the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice to submit a new Bill to the House to replace the Legal Profession (Amendment) Bill 2018 to achieve the above stated purpose.
Except from the petition
The Association alleged that the GLC instituted the entrance examination in the admission process as a filtration mechanism to deal with the failure on their part to provide corresponding facilities to absorb the increasing numbers.
In that regard, they rejected the justification that the entrance examination served as quality-filtering system, as it does not lend itself to hard work or merit, but offer very little time for students to prepare adequately for the large number of subjects involved.
They also maintained that the mass failures being recorded did not reflect actual performance of the students but they rather show the systemic failure within the country’s legal education system.
They therefore called for massive reform in the legal education system including scrapping of the Ghana School of Law and the entrance examination and allowing all or the existing law faculties to take up the professional legal training programme.
They further proposed that, upon completion, students must be made to write Bar Examinations which may be conducted at least four times within a year.
In addition, marking schemes and examiners’ reports must be published alongside the results to serve as a guide to law lecturers and students.
The House has adopted the report accordingly.
Story filed by Edzorna Francis Mensah.