Lawyers considered foundation English classes for law students to help them become more proficient in the language during a workshop at Imperial Royale Hotel last week.
This was due to concerns raised during this workshop which was organized to discuss the quality and standards of Uganda’s legal education.
The Chairperson of the Law Council, Justice Remmy Kasule, “The high failure rate experienced in the LDC pre-entry exams is because the students do not have a good grasp of the English language.” This was his explanation as to why many people are failing the pre-entry exams to the Bar course taught at Law Development Centre (LDC).
In the just released pre-entry results, statistics have showed that only 624 students passed the exams out of over 1900 students that sat the exam on the 6th August at UMA conference Hall this year.
In the alternative, Prof, Fredrick Sempebwa, the chairperson of the legal education committee suggested that all law schools should only be admitting students with a distinction in the English language. He also added that law students should be involved more in clinical legal education (CLE) to help them put into practice the theory they learn at Law school.
Some lawyers also recommended that before a student can take on a course in law, they should be required to have studied another course at undergraduate level, making law a second degree, a system adopted by many other jurisdictions.
The lawyers at the gathering spoke against students preferring litigation (taking matters to court) ignoring amicable solutions that may be used to resolve disputes such as alternative dispute resolution. The students are only interested in commercial law and civil cases where they are motivated by the money the field may bring them. A decision to introduce some of those initiatives will be met with stiff opposition.
Uganda Christian University (UCU) however has a mandatory policy for all students to undertake a foundation course in basic writing and study skills in their first year, an attempt to perfect the English language by the students of all the faculties.
Some universities also already engage students in CLE projects, which is also a compulsory course unit at UCU.
A move to make especially English foundations compulsory for law students, and the CLE projects will be met with overwhelming approval from the university.