Top politicians and army officers who had earlier failed the Bar Course examinations at the Law Development Centre have finally passed the papers after resitting them. According to the results released on Friday by the Secretary LDC Board of Examiners, Ms Joyce Werikhe, former deputy Prime Minister, Moses Ali, Brig. Henry Tumukunde and MPs, Michael Mabikke (Makindye West), Susan Nakawuki (Busiro East) and Samuel Odonga Otto (Aruu County) are among the 347 lawyers who passed the exams. However, out of these 347 lawyers, 82 including Brig. Tumukunde and Mr Mabikke passed by compensation - meaning they had not got the 50 per cent pass mark in some papers and examiners got marks from other papers to make the mark.
A total of 552 lawyers failed some papers in the last two academic years (2007/08/2008/09) and were required to resit the exams to be able to graduate next month. Mr Otto and Ms Nakawuki were among the 285 lawyers who had failed the papers in the last academic year while Gen. Ali, Mr Mabikke and Brig. Tumukunde, had failed some papers in the 2007/08 academic year.
Even after repeating the exams, a total 115 lawyers failed again, according to the results pinned at the LDC notice board. The results also show that another 20 lawyers did not resit some papers and were considered as having failed the course while 16 have to explain why they re-sit the exams.
“The Board decided that they could not sit second and last supplementary examinations as they were caught up with the three year rule. They therefore failed the course in accordance with rule 8.2 governing the passing of the course,” Ms Werikhe said
According to LDC guidelines, it is mandatory to pass the five core subjects including; Civil Proceedings, Criminal Proceedings, Commercial Transactions, Land Transactions and Domestic Relations for one to acquire a diploma in legal practice.
The 2008/09 Bar Course examination results released in March showed a massive failure rate, a phenomenon that has continued to haunt the centre over the last decade. According to the results, out of the 464 students who sat for the final exams in 2008/09, only 91 (19.6 per cent) passed all the papers – indicating that 373 (80.43 per cent) failed. Ms Werikhe, said in a statement that those who failed will have to apply to resit the papers in December with the 2010/11 academic year students at a fee of Shs25,000 per paper.
This development comes hardly two month after 51 students of this academic year (2009/10) were discontinued for failing exams. The candidates failed the practical part of first term exams, done last March. Only 350 students were allowed to continue with the postgraduate diploma in legal practice. A total of 600 students were admitted for the 2009/10 academic year. The centre is currently under spotlight over the shrinking academic standards partly blamed on the ill-equipped library, poor quality of students admitted for the Bar Course and absenteeism of lecturers.
Recently, Oak Education Consult (U) Ltd was contracted to produce a comprehensive curriculum for all LDC courses. The centre is also embarking on a programme to equip all lecturers with pedagogical skills which are needed in the teaching profession. This came after a discovery that many of the LDC lecturers are lawyers who never acquired teaching skills and they need training.