Good morning to the First Gentleman of the Republic of Ghana; Your Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo.
I am certain that your high office is faring well, same as your health.
Permit me, Mr President, to excuse the usual lengthy pleasantries and focus on the primary reason for this letter to you.
In the past week, you took time off your busy schedule to address leaders of the Ghana Bar Association on very important national issues. Central among these issues was the high failure rate annually churned out at the Ghana School of Law. I am happy that at least, you recognize that the failures are a problem that needs redress.
Mr President, I had hoped you will admit that the redress that is needed is very imminent especially since as the status quo is maintained, other students will have to deal with the same system this year.
Mr President, my greatest concern is your opinion on what could be the reason for the almost chronic mass failure at the Ghana School of Law. In your statement, you suggested that the problem could be as a result of failure of students to adhere to simple examination instructions. This however saddens me just as every other student of the Ghana School of Law.
This suggestion, Your Excellency, clearly informs us that your high office either has not paid attention to the ‘noise’ made by the students or you have formed this opinion based on information received from just one version of the discussion. I know you have scheduled to meet the leadership of the SRC of the Ghana School of Law, so I hope you will reach a better conclusion after hearing them out. As you said in your address; “I think all of us have a big responsibility to put the facts out so that people in Ghana can understand...” Kindly allow me to also help by putting these facts out:
The students of the Ghana School of Law have written exams from the school's inception to this time so it is clearly erroneous to attribute the failure to adhere to instructions as a possible cause of this mass failure. Your Excellency, if that was the case then they would not have passed any exams they wrote especially the entrance exams organized by the same Independent Examination Council that organizes the bar exams.
Mr President, do you know that students of the Ghana School of Law over the years are faced with examination questions that are clearly outside the course outlines or course manuals that are prepared to serve as a guide in their studies and preparation for the examinations? Also, Sir, do you know about the great disconnect between the lecturers and the independent examination council? Such that, the committee does not even know what has been taught by these lecturers and therefore set questions which the students may not have ever been taught throughout their stay in the school.
Mr President, I'm certain you are aware that the students meet questions on different courses when taking the examination set under a specific course. A student who has prepared for Civil Procedure may only go to the exams hall and meet questions on Law of Evidence. Also, the saddest part of it all is that, if a student fails 3 out of the 10 papers, that student is to repeat and take all ten courses again. I am sure Mr President would agree that this is clearly vexatious and malicious. A student may make 7 A’s and 3 C’s yet because of these 3Cs, that student must re-sit all 10 papers where he could have best been asked to re-sit the 3 papers and graduate successfully.
Mr President, it is most unfortunate that where a student wants a remark of a paper, he or she must pay GHC 3000 per paper. It is true that such monies may be refunded where the student is successful but do you know how many students who for their inability to raise such monies end up repeating or even dropping out? Never mind that it has ever happened that a student was scored 37 and upon remarking had 73; is there any viable suspicion about the likelihood of errors at the point of marking or recording? Who cares? The student must still find that Gh¢3000.00 anyway, else, no justice for him/her!
Mr President, students of the Ghana School of Law spend their entire week in the lecture rooms without any or very limited time for personal studies. Classes begin at 7am and end at 6pm. Students will end up at home around 8pm or 9pm and will be very exhausted. How can these same students prepare effectively for the bar exams under such conditions yet be expected to do distinctively well?
I am sure after reading this letter, you will realize that the problem is not about the students, but about a very old system that needs a total overhaul to meet modern times.
I would conclude by bringing to your attention a statement made by Maxwell Opoku Agyeman Esq, a lecturer at the Ghana School of Law on Facebook recently. He emphasized that "If you exported them to another jurisdiction in my humble believe the percentage of pass will be over 90% not 70%. Though some students these days are not serious some are far better than me in my student days, judging from class work. The system is broken and we must fix it not through emotional outbursts but well thought out responses. I am scandalized as a lecturer of these students. The mass failure casts a doubt on my competence as a lecturer. Certainly I don’t begrudge anyone making a reasonable inference that i am also a failure. All well-meaning Ghanaians should get involved because to curb the trauma our children brothers and sisters are going through."
Students at the Ghana School of Law are very exceptional, as is what the General Legal Council intended to achieve through the Entrance Examinations in place for admissions, and it will only take a defective system to make them fail!
I am confident that after your meeting with the students on 6th May, 2019, you will see the need to address this problem swiftly so that the dreams of all your intelligent children and grandchildren here at the Ghana School of Law will not be cut short.
Thank you for your time, Mr President. I wish you well in all your endeavours.
Long live Ghana!
God bless our Motherland!
Noah E. Tetteh