The Government has backtracked on its earlier position to ban Law Development Centre (LDC) pre-entry exams, saying little research had been made by the time the decision was made yet the exams are paramount if Uganda is to have quality lawyers.
The Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Kahinda Otafiire made this revelation this morning while interfacing with the Parliamentary Legal Committee.
“I know we took a position on the removal of pre-entry exams and you know I strongly defended that position in Parliament, however, I had interface with members of the Law Council and teachers of LDC and there were very serious issues put across,” Otafiire said.
He added: “I was convinced to change my mind and we agreed to do further research, more consultation and then come back to Parliament to present our findings now and see whether our position is tenable, sustainably or we should rethink.”
However, MPs were adamant at buying the Minister’s argument, with some arguing that these programs are already approved by National Council for Higher Education and called on the Ministry to sort their issues with the Council, instead of compelling students to do pre-entry exams.
The Minister however insisted that the checks at LDC are needed to ensure quality of lawyers.
It should be noted that in May 2018, Parliament passed a resolution to ban pre-entry exams at LDC, deeming the exercise as discriminatory.
The decision of Parliament followed a recommendation highlighted in the report by the Committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs on the 2018/2019 budget and Ministerial policy statements for the Law Development Center where MPs called for increased funding to the LDC to enable the institution concentrate on opening up new outlets across the country, so as to decongest LDC.
While tabling the report, Jacob Oboth, Chairperson of the Legal Committee told Parliament that the main purposes of establishing pre-entry exams to the Law School was to deal with high number of students that had expressed interest in taking up Law, but with the decongestion plans, there was no need for the pre-entry exams.
During the debate, Kahinda defended the move to ban LDC pre-entry exams telling Parliament that the issue had been subject of debate at the Ministry, and the Ministry agreed to decongest LDC on grounds that the classes had ceased serving their purpose and had turned into rallies.
At the time, Kahinda wondered how the LDC can have a class of 1000 students and 800 fail and went on to question if the problem is with the students or the teachers.
“We had a discussion and came to a conclusion that the classes were too big for the teachers. Because a class of 1000 isn’t a class, it is a rally,” Kahinda said then.