INSTITUTIONS offering legal education in Zambia are worried with the passing rate at the Zambia Institute of Advanced Legal Education (ZIALE) and are contemplating forming an association where such challenges could be resolved, Zambia Open University has observed.
Commenting on this year’s performance by law students in which only 18 out of 206 students who sat for exams have been admitted to the bar, Zambia Open University dean of law, Kalombo Mwansa, said the failure rate at ZIALE was worrying universities that were training law students seeking to be admitted to the bar.
Dr. Mwansa said there was need to find the root cause of the problem at the institution because it was unacceptable that such large numbers of students could be denied the chance to be admitted to the bar to meet minimum requirements to start practicing as lawyers.
He said that the universities were pushing for an association to which they could lodge their complaints and finding solutions to challenges that faced law training institutions and students.
“All law schools are worried by the results that are obtaining at ZIALE because students have continued to record poor results and because they are the ones which are training these students who are seeking to be admitted to the bar.
‘‘While there is a slight increase in the progression rate of students, the results do not reflect what we are expecting from ZIALE and that is why we are pushing for an association of law schools which can look into these matters.
“We feel that with an association for law institutions in place, we will be able to overcome the challenges we are facing and one of the challenges is that the students we are training are failing to graduate from ZIALE.
‘‘We are sure that if we have such a body in place, it can assess the problem at ZIALE and come up with solutions,” Dr. Mwansa said. He however expressed optimism that ZIALE would soon improve on its own as the institution had reportedly set up a committee to look into the reasons behind the continued poor results it was obtaining.
He observed that with such a committee in place, the institution should be in a better position to rectify the problem by coming up with tentative solutions.
“We hear ZIALE has set up a commission of enquiry or something like a committee that will look into reasons that are making students at the institution fail to perform better and we are sure that things may begin to change at that institution because its pass rate is worrying all of us,” he said.
ZIALE has come under heavy criticism from some sections of society which are calling on Government to take over the institution with the Zambia Direct Democracy Movement and the Zambia Republican Party charging that the institution was performing poorly because it had failed to achieve the minimum acceptable pass rate of any institution in the country.