The Coalition for National Sovereignty has called on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to call the General Legal Council (GLC) to order following the mass failure of applicants to the Ghana School of Law this year.
Out of the total 1,820 applicants to the Ghana School of Law, only 128 applicants passed the entrance exam this year.
Members of the Law Students Association have accused the GLC of a deliberate attempt to deny citizens access to legal education and make it a preserve of a few.
The Law Students Association has, therefore, threatened to demonstrate on 7 October 2019.
Contributing to the brouhaha concerning legal education in the country, the Coalition for National Sovereignty, in a statement, said: “The nonchalant attitude of President Akufo-Addo in this matter is becoming increasingly worrying, especially considering the fact that he is a lawyer and former member of the General Legal Council (GLC)”.
The Coalition said: “The President cannot play neutral and pretend to be preserving the independence of the General Legal Council because by law, the GLC is a body under the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice and the ministry is allowed under Section 1 (5) of the Legal Profession Act, 1960 (Act 32) to give directives to the Council and they are obliged to comply with the same. So, the question remains: why President Akufo-Addo is still quiet and playing ‘deaf’ to the plight of the students.”
The Coalition said it supports the planned demonstration by the law students and have called on Ghanaians to join “in the struggle for the defence of freedom and justice.”
Below is the full statement:
PRESIDENT AKUFO-ADDO MUST CALL THE GENERAL LEGAL COUNCIL TO ORDER IN THEIR POOR MANAGEMENT OF PROFESSIONAL LEGAL EDUCATION
The Coalition for National Sovereignty notes with regret the deteriorating state of Professional Legal Education in Ghana. At a time that Ghana’s population is growing and the country requires more lawyers to enhance access to justice and promote the rule of law, the General Legal Council is rather implementing policies that deliberately deny qualified citizens access to Professional Legal Education.
It is sad to note that, out of 1,820 applicants to the Ghana School of Law only 128 applicants were offered admission. There must be something fundamentally wrong with the system of admission., especially considering the fact that a significant number of lecturers at the various law faculties are the same lecturers at the law school. What could account for this mass failures at this time? We are cognisant of the recent changes in the system which brought about Independent Examination Committee, but the advent of this committee has only aggravated the issues and worsened the plight of prospective students.
The evidence shows that since the commencement of the recent reforms by the General Legal Council the pass rate has reduced drastically from 77.2 per cent in 2015/2016 to 12.2 per cent in 2017/2018. Investigations by Parliament show that there exists a disconnect between teaching, learning and examinations which is partly responsible for the mass failure. It is our considered view that there is a grand scheme to limit the number of lawyers produced yearly.
There have been serious concerns with the quality of examination questions as well as poor marking and tallying of examination results. The quality of examiners cannot be ascertained and examiners do not provide marking schemes and examiners’ reports to enable students and lecturers appreciate what may be going wrong with the system.
All attempts by students to seek redress through Petitions to the General Legal Council, the Speaker of Parliament and President Akufo-Addo have proved futile. Even though Parliament conducted some investigations into the matter and made some recommendations to the General Legal Council on how to resolve the challenges, the Council has flagrantly disregarded the recommendations of Parliament Committee.
The Coalition holds the view that, the nonchalant attitude of President Akufo Addo in this matter is becoming increasingly worrying, especially considering the fact that he is a lawyer and a former member of the General Legal Council (GLC) It is our hope that the President is quickly awakened to realities of this raging anger among students and act speedily and decisively on the matter to save the image of legal training in the country. Our hope is strengthened on the backdrop of the fact that the President has the ear of the Chairperson of the GLC, Her Ladyship Madam Sophia Akuffo, who, according to sources, is a blood relation.
On the other hand, the President cannot play neutral and pretend to be preserving the independence of the General Legal Council, because by law the GLC is a body under the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice and the Ministry is allowed under Section 1 (5) of the Legal Profession Act, 1960 (Act 32) to give directives to the Council and they are obliged to comply with the same. So the question remains, why President Akufo Addo is still quiet and playing ‘deaf’ to the plight of the students. The President ought to be reminded of Article 1 (1) of the Constitution, 1992 that the sovereignty of Ghana resides in the people of Ghana and it is in their name and for their welfare that the powers of government are to be exercised in accordance with the constitution.
The Coalition by this statement, calling on Parliament to demand answers from the General Legal Council on why the recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee remain ignored.
We also demand an immediate intervention of the President, by instituting workable measures to deal with the impasse and institute sustainable ways of managing legal education in the country.
The Coalition supports calls by the Law Students Association to demonstrate on 7th October 2019 and shall avail itself and its membership for the public manifestation on the said date. We use this opportunity to invite all well-meaning Ghanaians to join this all-important struggle for the defence of freedom and justice.
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