This year’s law graduates from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) have expressed misgivings about the General Legal Council’s decision to introduce a quota system in the admission of students to the Barrister of Laws (BL) programme at the Ghana School of Law (GSL) in Accra.
To become a professional lawyer in Ghana, a holder of the Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree needs to pursue the BL programme at the GSL.
In addition to that, professional lawyers from other countries also have to attend the GSL before they are admitted to the Ghana Bar Association (GBA).
The school intends to admit about 200 students this year and a quota system introduced by the General Legal Council is giving 100 slots to LLB graduates from the University of Ghana, Legon, 60 to those from KNUST, with the remaining 40 going to foreign students.
But according to the KNUST graduates, the move was unfair and discriminatory. They have, accordingly, petitioned the council to reconsider its decision.
This year, about 200 LLB students, 80 of whom obtained First Class and Second class (Upper Division) honours graduated from KNUST while about 110 graduated from Legon.
By the quota system, it is likely that majority of graduates from Legon, with the exception of only 10, will get the opportunity to do the BL programme, while about 140 from KNUST will be denied that opportunity.
Mr Oliver Kwame Nornyivey, the immediate past president of the KNUST Law Students Association in an interview with the Daily Graphic, said the students acknowledged that the GSL lacked the facilities to accommodate many students.
“But we will appreciate it if the admissions were done on merit and not on a quota system,” he said.
He said the GSL could have even resorted to a standardization test in the form of an entrance examination to select students to ensure that the best students were given admission.
Prior to the introduction of the LLB programme at KNUST, it was only students from the University of Ghana and a few foreign students, who applied to the GSL for the BL programme.
In an attempt to explain the quota system to the KNUST students, the Registrar of the GSL, Nana Fredua Owusu Agyemang, on Monday held a meeting with the students, during which he was said to have explained to them that the new system was being introduced because of facility constraints.
He said because last year many students were admitted, efficiency was compromised, hence the need for the General Legal Council to set modalities for admissions with the quota system.
Even though he did not explain the rationale behind giving Legon the maximum quota, he spoke of the possibility of opening a second School of Law in Kumasi later on to be able to deal with the problem.