The Chairman of the constitutional and Legal Affairs of Parliament, Hon. Mahama Ayariga has advised agitating students of the Ghana School of Law to direct their concerns to the appropriate quarters in order to achieve expected and desired results.
He indicated that, it is important for everyone to know the different roles they play; adding that content of a program is determined by the Board of Legal Education and not Parliament.
According to the Bawku Central Legislature, the Constitution advocates autonomy for educational institutions, and Parliament cannot interfere in that regard.
“So if students have a problem with the content of professional legal education, they should direct their concerns to the Board of Legal Education”. He emphasized.
Indicating that, Parliament do not determine program content, advising the students to direct their concerns to appropriate quarters, so that if the Board is reviewing the content of legal education, they would take into consideration those concerns.
In an interview with the media after his statement on the Floor of the House on the issue of students of the Law School, which was referred to his Committee, he noted that, if the concerns of the students is about failing their exams, they should direct their concerns to the Board of Legal Education, the Ghana School of Law administration and the General Legal Council.
He added that failing examination could be as a result of failure of coordination between major stakeholders.
He also explained that, lack of coordination between the independent examining body, the teaching team (lecturers), and the students could lead to mass failures, adding that if those marking the examination papers of students do not know what the lecturers thought, students would get lost with questions set. Similarly, if students were not thought about what examining body asked them, they would be lost.
“If lecturers do not know what examining body would be setting questions on, they would not tech to meet those requirements”. Hon. Ayariga noted.
He reiterated that, these are matters that should be handled internally and not the business of Parliament, and the Constitution provides for academic freedom, for which matter Parliament cannot determine the content of the program run by the Ghana School of Law.
Parliament, He said, cannot determine how they should mark their scripts, how they should award and grade people, adding that “all the issues that the students are raising are perfect and legitimate, but should know where to direct them, so that it could be dealt with appropriately at the right time.
On the Floor of the House, the Chairman indicated that, the Committee had looked into the issue, sat on it more than three times and was ready to lay its report when the fresh petition from the students was received, for which matter they had to hold on.
He also indicated that upon the advice of the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, the Committee has asked the Minister of Justice and Attorney General to appear before it to consider the petition of the students.
He further revealed that the Committee has received proposal for the Legislative Instrument (LI) from the General Legal Council, as per the judgment of the Supreme Court on the matter, to enable them conduct entry examination as a basis for admitting students into the Law School.
According to him, the Council came with two proposals; to conduct entry examination and also to conduct interviews as well, with the Committee rejecting later.
The decision to accept the former (conducting entry examination) was on the basis that they interpreted it within the provisions of the parent Act (Act 32), by which the General Legal Council is permitted to conduct preliminary, interim and final examination.
Hon. Ayariga also asserted that, the other issue is the second leg of the Supreme Court ruling which indicated that, per Article 25 of the constitution, it is generally required that anybody who has a degree in law, and is capable should have reasonable access to law school.
“The General Legal Council can do this by either expanding the existing infrastructure of the school, or accredit able institutions to run their program, but under the regulation of the Council”. He noted.
He therefore advised stakeholders to cooperate in order to find amicable lasting solution to the problem at hand.
Story: Frederick E. Aggrey