The results of the 2020 entrance into the Ghana Law School Entrance have been released, showing a 33% increase in the pass rate.
Only 7% of those who sat the exams last year passed. It triggered agitations among the law students and a demonstration that resulted in clashes with the police.
This year, however, approximately 40% of the students who sat for the examination passed, data released by the school suggests.
Legal education in Ghana is at a crossroad.
There are at least 14 institutions providing an LLB education to thousands of students. But after obtaining an LLB, students need to be admitted to the Ghana School of Law for their professional course.
To deal with the overwhelming numbers, the School of Law introduced an entrance examination in 2012. The results have been abysmal.
It has culminated in a campaign for legal education reform. They have claimed there is a deliberate attempt to maintain an elitist caste and deny several thousand an opportunity to become lawyers.
The establishment, led by the Ghana Legal Council, however, insists the quality of the lawyer-assembly line would not be compromised in favour of quantity.
“Just like you can’t mass-produce doctors and surgeons, Ghanaians must not have mass-produced lawyers imposed on them,” the then Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo said in 2019.
In the 2020 examination, however, there is a significant increase in the pass rate.
Some 2,637 students sat for the examination last August. 1,045 students passed– a 40% pass rate.
A year earlier, 1,820 LLB holders sat for the entrance examination. Only 128 students were successful, representing a 7% pass rate.
The campaign for legal education reform has taken on a political twist with the governing NPP and opposition NDC making space for it in their manifestos.
The NDC has promised to decentralised legal education by granting certified law faculties accreditation to run professional law qualification course instead of only Ghana School of Law.
The NPP has promised to expand infrastructure to increase access to professional legal education.
The National Law Students Association of Ghana has indicated the NDC promise is more acceptable than what the NPP has proposed.
It said the NPP promise to build more facilities does not address the problem of a huge backlog of more than 2,000 students unable to gain admission into the only School of Law that is accredited to run the professional course.