Reflecting on ZIALE poor pass rate

By Kelvin Esiasa

Of late Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) has been complaining of poor pass rate at the Zambia institute of Advance legal education (ZIALE).

These sentiments have also been echoed by the Acting Chief Justice and other prominent individuals in Zambia. Their complaints are based on the comparison of the past rate of yester-years and current situation.

Student also at ZIALE have complained about mistreatment and poor teaching methods at ZIALE. Students have also accused lecturers at ZIALE of playing academics drama.

Surprising lecturers at ZIALE also put the blame on the caliber of students studying law and Universities where they are enrolled. It is very interesting to listen to the blame game between ZIALE and its student.

In 2009 ZIALE board chairperson Justice Lombe Chibesakunda reported that the pass rates at ZIALE were dwindling. She said in 2005, 18 out of the 84 enrolled students passed the examinations at the first attempt while at repeaters level, only 29 passed out of 62 students.

And in 2006, of the 116 students who enrolled, only eight passed at the first attempt while 49 passed from a total of 88 repeaters.

In 2007, 11 students passed at the first attempt out of an enrollment of 94. And 12 students passed at the first attempt in 2008 from an enrollment of 75 while of the 58 repeaters, 25 passed.

In 2009, eight out of the 75 enrolled students passed at the first attempt while 14 out of the 73 repeaters passed

So the debate at ZIALE can only be concluded if ZIALE and LAZ undergo reforms. ZIALE need to reform itself by adapting to new ways of academics and professionalism.

Reforms at ZIALE would help the organization  become more appeasing to the future generations. One of the reforms that ZIALE can adopt is to emulate other professional organizations like ZICA, ACCA and CIMA.

These organizations have managed contain their profession through the quest of ensuring professional excellence. One way they have promoted academic, and profession excellence is that they always organized examination and professionals clinics for its students and members.

These clinics are aimed at discussing areas that have continued to be problematic to students. They also go further by equipping lectures with examinations technique that would help the students to pass the examinations.

So ZIALE can emulate this activity. ZIALE can further promote and ensure that the lecturers teaching Law programmes at Universities are their members, and they have undergone thorough scrutiny by ZIALE and LAZ.

ZIALE should also ensure that the lawyers teaching at ZIALE have an interface with lecturers teaching at learning institutions.

This can be done through examination clinics as discussed above. By doing this ZIALE would be able to learn where the problem is. It would even help students and learning institution to increase their pass rates.

The other reform that ZIALE and LAZ can embark on is to moderate the Law syllabus and student recruitment. LAZ and ZIALE should take time to investigate the way Law programmes are taught.

They should also probe the students that are enrolled into the Law programmes among the universities. They can do this by setting up a special unit to carry out this task.

This would help LAZ and ZIALE promote and ensure that it is only quality students that are enrolled on their programmes. LAZ should also take stock of the law programmes that were being offered in the country and substantiate if they were adding any value to the law profession.

They should moderate student recruitment by setting up an arm that would register student lawyers as an affiliate or law students. This can also help the student to start participating in LAZ organized conferences and seminars.

The other reform that ZIALE and LAZ can embark on is the introduction of Law as a subject at secondary school lever.

The current situation where society has been meant to believe that children who perform well in English, literature and History intend to be good lawyers is not correct. LAZ and ZIALE should ask the ministry of education to introduce law courses at the secondary school level.

In conclusion, I wish to state here that LAZ and its institutions should pull up their socks and become real.