Entrants to the Law Development Centre (LDC) will not be subjected to pre-entry exams if a resolution made by Parliament is implemented.
Parliament on Thursday approved a recommendation by the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee calling for the scrapping of pre-entry exams at LDC to increase the legal practice services in the country.
“A pre-entry exam is only practiced in Uganda, while other regional schools do not subject students to pre-entry exams. The committee recommends that LDC develops a strategy of increasing the enrolment of students at the centre in the medium term. Government should abolish the pre-entry exams policy at LDC to increase access to legal services in the country,” the report recommended.
Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Kahinda Otafiire opposed the decision, saying it is a method of decongesting LDC which is grappling with high number of students and a high failure rate.
“About seven years ago, there was an alarming rate of failure at LDC and the question to the management of LDC was; how can you have a class of 1,000 and about 800 fail? Is it the students or the teachers or both? We had a discussion and came to the conclusion that classes were too big for the teachers, ” Mr Otafiire said.
His arguments were, however, rejected by MPs who insisted that pre-entry exams are not necessary in admission of students to LDC.
Committee chairman Jacob Oboth-Oboth argued that pre-entry exams cannot be used to measure the quality of students and that they were simply introduced because LDC is struggling with space constraints to accommodate students.
Defence minister Adolf Mwesige said pre-entry is subjecting students to “unnecessary rigors” because the Law Development Centre has enough assessment measures to ensure that it produces quality lawyers.
“There are sufficient checks and balances in the system, even before pre-entry exams were produced, to enable the system produce quality lawyers. And the way the curricula of LDC is structured is such that you cannot pass by accident,” Mr Mwesige said