It is absurd and a great disservice to the nation for Ministry of Higher Education to remain mute over “nonsensical” results obtaining at the Zambia Institute of Advanced Legal Education (ZIALE) without taking a step to address the mess, Zambia Republican Party (ZRP) president Wright Musoma has charged.
“Those results defeat logic and scientific explanation because more complicated courses respond to the spread of intelligence, but those ZIALE result show a premeditated pattern of poor teaching by incompetent lecturers intended to keep the number of lawyers low in the country,” he said.
Mr. Musoma said his party would not accept mediocre excuses that students at ZIALE were failing because they were not serious with their education as the same students were graduating from other universities with good results.
He wondered how Government would deal with substandard private universities when it was failing to regulate its own by ensuring that their output was up to the expectations of the people.
“Where is the Ministry of Education? What are they doing? We cannot accept this kind of situation where a very important institution like ZIALE should be giving us such useless results and the ministry is quiet. What are they scared of? Why can’t they do something to prevent the situation from deteriorating? What has gone wrong with that ministry? “The ministry is very vocal when it comes to performance of private institutions in the name of keeping standards high yet it is failing to arrest the alarming failing rate at their own institution.
‘‘What message are they sending to private institutions? That standards only apply to them and not Government institutions? We challenge the ministry to wake up and address that situation at ZIALE because it is an embarrassment,” Mr. Musoma said. He accused the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) of failing to provide leadership by offering solidarity to an institution which was not serving the purpose of its existence by continually producing poor results.
“Just like we have stated before, it is either ZIALE is failing students on purpose because it wants to limit the number of practicing lawyers, a move which favour LAZ or the institution has substandard lecturers who are not doing anything and these should be chucked out.
“You have a situation where only 18 out of 187 students pass and someone issues a statement that passing was in the hands of the students and is happy with that? That is an insult,” he said.
He reiterated that there was need to amend the constitution to allow a multi-legal representation system.
“This monopoly enjoyed by LAZ should come to an end. LAZ needs competition so that it becomes efficient and responsible because in its current form, it is compromised. No parent will be happy to send his child to ZIALE just to fail yet the same person passed through the School of Law at the University of Zambia and graduated with good results because school fees nowadays are exorbitantly high,” he said.
Contacted for a comment, Higher Education Minister Michael Kaingu referred all queries to his deputy, Sydney Mushanga whose mobile phone went unanswered. Only 18 out of 187 students who sat for the ZIALE exams this year were successful, posting a slight improvement as there have only been between eight and 12 students graduating since 2006.