GLC undertaking for School of Law entrant exam candidates sparks outrage

Ghana School Of Law SRC Logo The GLC says dissatisfied candidates will have no right to seek redress over their results

Sat, 30 Jul 2022 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

The General Legal Council, once again, is in the news over the administration of entrance exams for prospective students of the Ghana School of Law.

Ahead of this year’s entrance exam, the GLC which is the body responsible for admissions into the Ghana School of Law is said to have asked prospective students to sign an undertaking.

“The General Legal Council (GLC) has over the years established credible, rigorous and well-benchmarked systems and procedures for assessing answer booklets and re-checking of same for all candidates before examination results are released.

"Thus, the decision of the General Legal Council in respect of the published results of the Entrance Examination shall be final. No request for re-marking of scripts, re-tallying of scores or review or marks shall be accepted. Candidates cannot also request to see their marked answer scripts or the marking schemes used for marking the questions.

“In view of the above, I undertake to accept without question, the decision of the General Legal Council in respect of the published results of the Entrance Examination as final,” a copy of the agreement signed by GhanaWeb reads.

The said agreement has been tagged by many as obnoxious.

A known critic of GLC, Professor Stephen Kwaku Asare was one of the first individuals to raise an objection to the agreement.

In a series of Facebook posts, Prof Asare has called on prospective GLC candidates to boycott the entrance exam while calling for the dissolution of the current makeup of the General Legal Council.

“The GLC members must be named, shamed, and chased out of town for their pre-colonial views on legal education,” he stated.

On his part, Vice President of IMANI Africa, Kofi Bentil described the undertaking as illegal.

“This is patently illegal immoral and unconscionable. This will age badly and be a byword and reference point for bad oppressive leadership. Posterity will judge all who presided over this terrible opaque and insensitive system badly,” he wrote on his Facebook page.

Selorm Branttie, also of IMANI Africa, has described the undertaking as arbitrary and inimical to the progress of legal education.

“This is what the study of law has been reduced to. And you expect the law profession to blossom and grow when we cannot even check the arbitrariness of those who say they are marking exams?

“Where in this world are students not allowed to have lecturers justify the reason why they are given certain marks especially when the questions aren't multiple choice?” he wrote.

He questioned the silence of the Ghana Bar Association on the matter whiles bemoaning the prevalence of elite capture in the country.

“And the Ghana Bar Association (which is only active when non-NPP govts are in power) sits down for this travesty of justice to take place? You spend 1000s of cedis and countless hours on your tuition only to be told that the process of grading you is completely opaque, and not only that, you cannot seek redress if you feel cheated.

“It’s like depositing money for a car to be delivered to you, they tell you they are billing you for a new Mercedes S Class, and yet, if they deliver a 10-year-old Toyota Vitz, you have no right to complain because they choose what car to give you. Such nonsense. This country naa it’s not worth fighting for. We deny constitutional rights to push elitism and a senior boys club and nobody lifts a damn finger!” he fumed.

Meanwhile, a Ghanaian lawyer based in the United Kingdom, Kofi Opare Hagan, has sought to argue in favour of the General Legal Council.

According to him, the GLC is only seeking to adopt a similar practice in the UK system where a request by a candidate for reconsideration of a law school exam result is limited to only the examination process and not the results.

In a long statement shared on his page, Kofi Opare Hagan argued that an attempt to challenge the result is termed as "dissatisfaction with an academic judgment" and that such pursuit has no remedy even in the laws of UK courts.

Read his full argument below:

Those who have studied in UK would confirm there is nothing known as remarking. They would confirm marked scripts after exams are not released. And they would confirm a student dissatisfied with the results received would have to put in a request for reconsideration.

They would confirm a request for reconsideration is limited to impeaching the exams itself not the results. When you file such a request, you are in essence arguing against the fairness of the exams process on considerations such as timing. Probably the time announced for the exams was 2 hours but for some reason, the exams concluded in your case before the two hours. It does not involve remarking.They would confirm when the basis for your request is merely that you should have gotten more marks than awarded, it is termed as " dissatisfaction with an academic judgement". They would confirm there is no remedy for that. Not even the Courts in UK cam grant you a remedy.

They would confirm the principle is premised on the fact that an academic judgment once made is considered final. It is considered final because the academic who made the judgment is deemed as being the expert in the field. They would further confirm in UK marks are normally moderated by three individuals. Two from the school itself and one from an external examiner. So when these three people award you a mark; that is it. And those who are interested in learning more about this principle can research on " academic judgments". And oh, academic judgment forms part of academic freedom guaranteed under the Constitution of Ghana and made more complicated by the exclusive jurisdiction of the GLS to make arrangements for Legal Education under the relevant statute.

But that is not my focus today. My focus is on our crude populism. I know under this post mainly LLB holders seeking to enter into the GLS and those interested in studying law would come to attack me. This is Ghana. That is fine. Those who make it into the law however would end up supporting me next year when this issue comes up again. I know that too because this is Ghana. What we love to hear are woke emotions driven by populism. Not the hard truth we must accept so we find a lasting solution to issues.

Anyone with a shred of sense working knows why the GLS is doing what they are now doing. It has to do with space. It is a consequence of what happened last year when they announced a cut off point. They ended up with a situation where more people had made the cutoff than they expected. They were compelled by politics to accept them. Truth is, those 499 and others now at the GLS studying, appreciate the difficulty it has thrown everyone into. So what has the GLS decided? We have a certain number we can take. Well, let them all write the exams and then post exams we determine the cutoff based on the general performance. This isnt rocket science. It is easy to figure it out. And that is the only way they can work around the problem.

The problem is that everyone is studying LLB today. Private universities even lacking a charter are teaching LLB and enlisting people less than qualified to both lecture or study it. They are churning out these people in grand numbers. All they are interested in is the money. Not standards. Not quality. Not the future that those poor souls have to confront. And no, it isn't merely about putting up more buildings for the GLS. We don't even have enough qualified law lecturers. We don't. So these artificial sieves would keep coming into play. Attack me if you want but the reality is, these things don't depend on me. Or my wishes. Or what I believe in. There is a social fact at play. There is a reality to be met.

We need to seriously consider creating alternative career paths for law graduates other than life at the Bar. We need to reduce the number of people studying LLB too. We need to ensure standards are maintained at all level. We need to consider market. We need a proper national dialogue on legal education that meets halfway between the extremities of the fantasies of Mr Kwaku Asare and the sober reflection of her Lady Sophia Akuffo. We need to shun propaganda, politics and populism. But yeah, this is Ghana. I need to stop wishing.

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Source: www.ghanaweb.com