From TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Commissioner for Education, Professor Kaniye Ebeku, has declared that law graduates of the National Open University (NOUN) are unfit to be admitted into the Nigerian Law School.
Professor Ebeku said it was impending doom for the legal profession, if the move to admit NOUN graduates into law schools succeeds.
He argued that the University has no competence to produce quality Law graduates, and if the move to admit them into the Law School succeeds, it will affect legal education and the legal profession in the country.
Speaking on the topic, “Challenges of Legal Education in Nigeria: A need for reform”, at a day programme organised by OCJ Okocha Chambers, Faculty of Law, Rivers State University, Professor Ebeku, said the proliferation of Law Faculties in the country and ”political accreditation” Law Faculties/Programmes were part of the challenges of legal education in the country.
The Rivers Education Commissioner called for major reforms in legal education in the country and noted that low grade teachers were lowering the quality of legal education in the country.
On the dwindling quality of law teachers, the commissioner said: “A comparison of the quality of law teachers between 1962 and 1989 and 1990 to date will clearly show a downward trend.
“From the 1990s to date, no one can rightly deny that the quality of men and women recruited as law teachers has continued to experience downward spiral, with consequential damages on the quality of legal education today”.
Speaking further, Professor Ebeku explained that academic corruption among others, has adversely affected the quality of legal education and law graduates in the country.
He said: “Academic fraud plays a great role in the production of low quality graduates. In contemporary times, it is vain to deny that university teachers engage in shameful practices. Purchased grades, whether for cash or sex, translates to low quality graduates”.
The Education Commissioner, however, called for a review in teaching methods.
He said: “Teaching methods which are lecturer-centred is another major factor stagnating legal education in Nigeria. Teaching methods should be student-centred like it is in the UK and other parts of Europe”.