GOVERNMENT should immediately take over the running of Zambia Institute of Advanced Legal Education (ZIALE) because it is currently being run by half-baked staff who has failed to achieve the minimum acceptable pass rate of any institution in the country.
“There are more doctors and engineers who qualify from the University of Zambia than those from ZIALE thereby showing a pathetic lack of qualified staff to meet the globally acceptable levels of qualifications of advanced legal education.” Zambia Direct Democracy Movement (ZDDM) vice president Charles Kafumbo said.
The incompetence at ZIALE, he said was perpetrating a shortage of lawyers thereby undermining the delivery of justice in the country.
Mr Kafumbo said ZIALE had the most archaic and outdated teaching methods which were specifically guaranteed to fail the largest number of students to keep the profession closed to a select few who could control the market. “he said.
Mr. Kafumbo said the “closed shop” mentality was long forsaken by most professions around the world because it served no useful purpose.
He said the poor results at ZIALE a very deliberate ploy by a few selfish individuals who did not want to recruit qualified manpower that would use, professional teaching methods and evaluation to train future lawyers.
Mr. Kafumbo said there was need for Government to take full command of the institution, to remove the colonial and antiquated mentality which equated a high failure rate to excellence and quality, “This notion has been discarded the world over because scientific evaluation provides a more systematic evaluation of students based on material taught rather than the caprice and motivation of the teacher or institutional orientation.” he said.
He wondered why the institution had continued to register poor results when others were doing well in fields such as engineering and medicine.
He said the Ministry of education needed to come in and run the institution so that it could start positing good results like other disciplines were doing.
He said the situation was totally different when those seeking admission to the bar were trained at the National Institute of Public Administration (NIPA).
“When our lawyers were being trained by NIPA for admission to the bar, we had very good results coming from that institution which cannot be compared to what we are now getting from ZIALE and we are now asking the Ministry of Education to ensure that it takes full control of the institution,
He explained that the continued failure of students at ZIALE was painting a bad picture about the academic system in Zambia, adding that there was need for President Edgar Lungu to step in and provide guidance on how the institution should be run.
“We call upon President Lungu to come in and provide guidance on the same. Being a lawyer himself, he understands what is at stake and for the sake of saving the institution, let government take over. These people who run the institution seem not to know what they should do; we don’t know if this institution has now become a private pocket institution or not,” he said.
Meanwhile, a legal practitioner who refused to be named told the Daily Nation that even practicing lawyers were worried at the failing rate at ZIALE.
He said that it was unfortunate that the institution seemed to be doing nothing about the situation.
“Even we professionals in the industry are worried by these results. The most annoying thing is that people at ZIALE will not tell you the real reasons behind all this,
“I don’t think Zambian students are so dull that only a handful can graduate every year.. I mean, there are other tough courses such as engineering where most students don’t do very well but what is happening at ZIALE is something else,” he said.
ZIALE management could not be immediately reached for a comment.
A press query sent to the institution has remained unanswered for the last one month.