Conditional Pass in Nigerian Law School – Why the is Massive Failure at NLS Persists.
Conditional Pass in Nigerian Law School… This is a comprehensive guide on ‘Why Massive Failure is rampant in the Nigerian Law School Persists. Continue reading to gain much insight.
Over the weekend the Director General of the Nigerian Law School, Dr. Olanrewaju Onadeko (SAN), in Abuja announced the results of the Final Bar Exams for 2017, ahead the Call to Bar ceremony scheduled for July. In this piece, STEPHEN UBIMAGO writes on the continued pattern of mass failure being recorded at the Institution three years in a row….
Ahead the Call to the Bar ceremony scheduled to hold on July 13, the Director General of the Nigerian Law School, Dr. Olanrewaju Onadeko (SAN), on Saturday, June 10 in Bwari, Abuja, came out to announce the results of the Final Bar Exams that took place in May.
A break down of the results indicates a lamentable persistence of a worrisome pattern of mass failure which has since become a fixture three years in a row.
According to the Law School DG, about 792 candidates were unsuccessful in the Examinations.
Whereas 2,125 students of the Institution sat for the exams, only 1,393 were successful. 196 candidates had conditional pass; 596 failed.
In other words, the results showed that candidates with Pass accounted for 65.6 per cent; those with conditional Pass represented 6. 4 per cent, while those who failed were 28 per cent.
The Call to the Bar ceremony for the successful candidates will hold on July 13 in Abuja.
Compared to the failure rate of 28 per cent for 2017; failure rate for last year, 2016 Final Bar Examination, was lower at 23.6 per cent, meaning only one in five students failed in 2016.
This figure represents 720 candidates who sat for the examination held in April. A somewhat impressive 73 per cent passed the Exam.
A breakdown of the figures indicate that out of 3,056 candidates who partook in the 2016 exam, 2, 232 candidates passed, 720 failed; while 104 of them had conditional passes.
It is to be remarked that according to section 4 (2) of the Legal Practitioners Act, the 104 candidates with conditional passes, representing 3.4 per cent of the total number of candidates, cannot make it to Bar just like their colleagues that recorded outright failure.
In 2015, the narrative of mass failure at the Final Bar Exam took an alarming dimension.
The results of the exams conducted in April and May, 2015 revealed that a whooping 32.3 per cent of the candidates that sat for the exams failed.
A breakdown of the results revealed that out of a total number of 2,736 students that sat for the Bar Final Re-sit Exam for the 2014/2015 school year, 1,648 students were successful, 98 secured conditional pass, while 990 failed.
Also, a breakdown of the May 2015 Final Bar Exam for Regular Students showed that whereas 2, 852 candidates sat for the Exam, 1953 were successful; 83 got Conditional Pass, while 815 failed.
In sum, a combination of the failure numbers recorded for the Re-sit Exam in 2015, namely 990; and the failure numbers in the Final Bar Exams for Regular Students, namely 815, indicates that a total of 1, 805 candidates failed the exams, meaning a total failure rate of 32.3 per cent.
In other words, 2015 alone witnessed the failure of a total of 1805 candidates out of 5588 that sat for the exams.
Indeed the development caused much unease in legal circles so much so that former DG of the Institution, Chief Kayode Jegede (SAN) lamented over the falling standard of legal education in the country.
Other former DGs of the School at the occasion also expressed similar concern over the declining standard and high failure rates being recorded at the Bar exams.
The situation was even far more alarming in 2014. Out of a total number of 5,841 regular candidates that took the exam, 2,610 passed, while 501 had conditional pass and 1,932 failed the exam.
And out of a total of 1,335 re-sit candidates, 88 passed, 26 had a conditional pass and 1,168 failed.
In sum, out of an overall total of 7176 candidates that sat for the Exams; only 2,698 were successful; while 3,100 students failed outright, meaning a failure rate of 43.1 per cent.
Indeed, the 2014 situation has been described as the lowest every recorded in the 55 year old history of the Institution.
The point is: while 2014 and 2015 apparently witnessed the steepest nadir to which the failure rate at the Bar final exams ever sunk at 43.1 per cent and 32.2 per cent respectively; 2016 appeared redeeming, given that the failure rate dramatically tanked to 20 per cent; only to spike yet again to 28 per cent this year, 2018.
Reaction of Lawyers.
The development has therefore given rise to questions as to why the failure rate amplified in 2017 rather than further tank consistent with developments the year before.
Responding in a chat with Independent, Ms. Inumidun Finnih, a graduate of Birkbeck College of the University of London, called to Bar in 2015, said, “In my opinion one of the reason for mass failure at the Law School is that they don’t afford you any areas of concentration for you to focus your energy when you are reading and preparing for the exams.
“You do not know where the exam questions could come from. The questions could come from just about any topic that have been taught or expected of a student to read and master.
“Another thing is that fear and so much tension often envelope students ahead the exam.
“There is so much pressure mounted on you to pass, and unfortunately it is looked as though a sin if you don’t pass; they start mocking you.
“Besides, the amount of work load is quite a lot. It is very intense.”
She also hinted that the learning environment is comparatively not very friendly.
She said, “At the Abuja Campus, from where I finished, I cannot say the environment for learning is very conducive; except the library.
“And even at that, at the Abuja campus you have on the average 1,400 students but the library can only accommodate 200, and so students go to the Assembly Hall and Dinning Halls to read.
“And there is so much distraction and noise, and the light could go off any time.
“In fact there were so many issues. In that campus the generators goes off by 12 midnight. Then you have the option of you having to continue reading in your room.
“When the generator is off, you have recourse to your lamp. So with or without light you must have a lamp in your room.
“In fact Bar 1 students during my set had to confront the DG with complaints about the conditions of the hostel rooms; the condition of the classrooms; and the situation of power supply.
“And the DG had to explain that this and this is how much is spent every week to buy diesel just to light up the campus.
“On the problem of the condition of the rooms, he explained it is because there is no time for renovation, because as one set of law school students are leaving, another set is coming in.”
For Michael Isochukwu, who graduated from the University of Lagos and currently at the Enugu Campus of the Law School, one of the causes of mass failure at the Institution is that students fail to adopt the right study strategy.
He said, “Students do not adopt the right strategy in their reading. If a student studies consistently using past questions as a guide, such student will not have problem.”
He maintained that the learning environment at the Enugu Campus is fairly okay.
According to him, “The condition at the Enugu campus of the Law School is not perfect, but what that calls for is sacrifice, knowing that you are there not to find comfort but to achieve a goal.
“Light is not constant but it is fairly ok. Indeed they use generator practically all the time. They try to leave the light on till about 3 to 4pm.
“The generator is often turned on in the evening at about 6pm. So I can say that they are doing their best. I can also say that the quality of teaching is excellent.
“The Law School is indeed very intense. At the Law School everything is locked up in just one year; but at the Law Faculty at the University, a course of study is often broken down into two semesters for ease of comprehension.
For Amaka Chude, an Nnamdi Azikiwe University Law graduate called to Bar in 2016, quite a lot of factors contribute to mass failure at the Law School, part of which is that the grading system is transparent and cannot be influenced.
She said, “If there is anywhere integrity works in this country, it is at the Law School. All you do is to read from the first day and read and read until you drop your pen after your bar final examinations.
“A lot of factors make students to fail the Exams, including that some students don’t prepare well.
“Some develop exam fever or even get over-confident. The examiners incidentally are not people you know.
“The marked scripts undergo several assurance checks by other group of examiners to deter any hanky-panky.
“Your names are not written on the answer scripts. It is done in a very transparent manner as the scripts are marked in an open hall where everybody sees what everybody is doing.
“Let us also understand that not everybody who sat in the same class, listened to the same lecture, sat the same examinations, will come out with the same result.”
For Patrick Herbert, the reasons for mass failure at the Nigerian Law School are that a lot of students often ramble at the bar exams, dwelling on quantity instead of quality of answers supplied.
He maintained that secondly, students indulge in a poor and un-lawyerly approach in their analysis of legal problems.
Thirdly, some fail to write legibly and fail to maximize allocated time for answering exam questions.
Finally, poor reading and comprehension skills are sometimes major problems for some students.
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