Private Legal Practitioner, Professor Stephen Kwaku Asare, has described as obnoxious the undertaking prepared by the Ghana Legal Council for prospective students of the Ghana School of Law to sign before taking their entrance exam.
The said undertaking which has raised brows on social media states that students who sign the document are to accept the decision of the GLC without question or challenge.
“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,” the undertaking reads.
Professor Kwaku Asare reacting to the agreement in a series of Facebook posts called on prospective students of the School of Law to boycott the entrance examinations.
He further called for the dissolution of the Ghana Legal Council board.
“The GLC members must be named, shamed, and chased out of town for their pre-colonial views on legal education,” he stated.
Other critics have disagreed with the GLC’s decision describing it as oppressive and inimical to the progress of legal education in the country.
Vice President of IMANI Africa, Kofi Bentil said “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.”
Selorm Branttie, also of IMANI Africa, described the undertaking as indiscriminate: “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 further questioned the silence of the Ghana Bar Association on the matter while 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 said.
However, not everyone has disagreed with the GLC’s decision.
A Ghanaian lawyer based in the United Kingdom, Kofi Opare Hagan, says the GLC decision is based on realism and those opposing it are simply being driven by emotional populism.
“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 cutoff 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 isn’t rocket science. It is easy to figure it out. And that is the only way they can work around the problem,” he said.
He further added that the agreement is sound and defensible on the premise of the finality of an academic judgement, a tenet of academic freedom.
“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,” he added.