The National Association of Law Students has called on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to immediately set up a commission of enquiry to conduct a “comprehensive introspection into the manner in which legal education is being manned”
Thousands of law students embarked on a march on Monday, 7 October 2019 on the streets of Accra to demand reforms in legal education in Ghana following the mass disqualification of over 1,600 law students who sat for the last entrance exam for admission to the Ghana School of Law.
Only 128 passed out of the 1,820 students who sat for the exam, representing a pass rate of seven per cent.
Members of the Law Students Association say the mass failure is a deliberate attempt by the General Legal Council (GCL) to deny people access to legal education and make it a preserve of a few.
Speaking to Class News on the sidelines of a press conference held in Accra on Wednesday, 9 October 2019, The President of the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) of the Ghana School of law (GSL), Jonathan Alua explained called for a commission to be set up to do a comprehensive introspection into the conduct of legal education in the country.
“What we need right now from the Commission of Enquiry as you realise that was a medium term solution, we have short term, medium and long term solutions is for a comprehensive introspection into the manner in which legal education is being manned in this country and for proposed recommendations that will reflect 21st Century needs.”
He also called on President Nana Addo to direct the Ghana Legal Council through the Attorney General to adapt the recommendations made by Parliament’s Committee.
“In the short term, we’re expecting that the President will direct the General Legal Council through the Attorney General to immediately adapt the recommendations from Parliament’s Committee, I mean the parliamentary reports that emanated from Parliament earlier this year that asked for a number of things to be done particularly the reduction in the remarking fees from GHS3000 per script to GHS 500 and you know taking a second look at the repeat policy and all of that.”
Commenting on the brutalising of some law students at a demonstration held last week, the SRC President of the GSL said: “We are conferring with counsel and trying to find out what to do with that situation, the whole Ghana has seen that we were beaten up by people who are paid to protect us but that’s not what we’re asking for our only compensation right now will be to get the reforms we’re seeking.”
Mr Alua, also indicated that their focus as a body is not on the brutalities meted on student protesters by the police.
“In the future we’re not ruling that out but what we want now is not to pursue action against the police. They know what they’ve done, it’s an institution, I’m sure eve in the coming days the IGP will do something about it if he doesn’t we’ll advice ourselves in the future but as I said what is of pressing need to us is reforms, that’s what we’re asking for.”
He however reiterated their expectations of government to grant the students’ body audience.
“We expect that we be given audience, we have a roundtable discussion to agree on when what should be done, it will be unfair to hold the government by the neck. We understand our role as citizens, we understand their role as a government. What is expected is positive signals that something will be done and we’re not talking about political talk there are some things that can be done within the short term.
He also called on government to give an indication to his commitment to reforming legal education.
“Reducing the remarking fee doesn’t take series of meetings it takes a snap and so things like that will give us the indication that government is truly committed to reforming legal education and we can have a roundtable discussion about that.”