Tension is brewing at the Ghana Law School (GLS) over who should be held responsible for the frequent leakage of examination questions at the institution.
The ‘cold war’ follows the decision of the General Legal Council (GLC), which supervises activities at the school, to overlook the Lecturers of the school and set up an Independent Examinations Board (IEB) to set questions for students of the school.
The move, Director of the GLS, Henry Kwesi Prempeh-Eck told Adom News, is part of major restructuring at the institution which is charged with the training of Lawyers and Judges for the country.
“From last year the General Legal Council which supervises work at the Law School said the Independent Examinations Board (IEB) should oversee exams at the law school…,” he said.
This board which is part of major reforms at the Law School, he said would take questions from different people – Lecturers, Judges and senior Lawyers. According to him, the body would after the collation ‘sift through the questions’ and select the ones to be used for the examinations.
“…the old system is changing from what we used to do where the lecturers teach and set questions and mark. It is the transition that is bringing some tension…,” he explained.
But this decision of the GLC has angered the Academic Board, which includes Lecturers. In protest, the Lecturers are refusing to set the questions entirely as they claim they won’t teach for others to set questions for their students.
Speaking on Adom FM’s Midday News Wednesday a member of the Academic Board and Lecturer at the GLS, Moses Foh Amoaning said it is wrong for the GLC to hold the Lecturers responsible for the leakage of the Law School questions.
“The Academic faculty don’t accept the claims because there is no truth in them, you trained and permitted us to become lecturers at the Law School, so why don’t they punish people who do that if they indeed have proof…why would a lecturer want to leak examination questions for students…”, he said.
He further argued that allowing more people to partake in the setting of questions at the Law School would lead to more leakages at the school.
“Why would you want the Academic Board to set questions for the Independent Examination Board…our worry is that if you open it up to too many people, the issue of leakages which you based your argument on prominently to establish the Independent Examination Board, that issue would even be worse…,” he argued.
To him, the part of the reform which allows for the establishment of the IEB is defeated by the fact that not many people are well-versed in all aspects of the law ‘and the fact that someone is a judge doesn’t mean he is well-versed in the courses taught at the Ghana Law School’.
Parliament must intervene
Act 32 of the 1992 Constitution, LI 1296 as amended by LI 1558 spells out the courses one would have to pursue at the Law School to qualify as and operate as a Lawyer in Ghana.
This act, according to Lawyer Foh Amoaning would have to be amended by Parliament again if the reforms introduced by the GLC can successfully be carried out at the Law School.
He continued that the GLC would only have the right to establish the examination board to assist with the setting of examination questions after it causes Parliament to change the governing Act and the amendments in the 1992 Constitution which established the Ghana Law School.
The amendments must also contain changes in the courses to be pursued at the Law School.
Until the Law School Act is amended by Parliament, certificates which would be awarded to students who partake in examinations whose questions were set by the Independent Examinations Board would be ‘useless’ as it would not be backed by law, he maintained.
Ghana, Moses Foh Amoaning insisted, would also be full of ‘half-baked’ Lawyers if the part of the reform which cuts down the time spent at the Law School from two years to one is implemented.
Per the reforms, the second year would be used to pursue attachments at ‘chambers which we do not even know.’
“The exams and the certificates that would be awarded according to the law…there is the need to take them to Parliament for deliberation…even with the two years, our Lawyers are under-performing at the Attorney General’s department. I am not by any means degrading any Lawyer, (but) there is a certain quality that if we don’t attain, there would be problems…,” he said.
He added that Lecturers at the GLS have petitioned the General Legal Council for about five years now to consider some of their reforms including the call that the Lecturers be permitted to continue with the work they have done for over 40 years.
“What we are saying is that because there are problems with the IEB, they should let us set our own questions at least for this year, mark and evaluate them and later they can implement their IEB after the amendment of the Act by Parliament,” he added.