Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Law school failures

Someone contacted me anonymously with the following figures for this year's law school graduates:

Grade Total Percent
First class 4
Upper second 103
Lower second 572
Pass 3004 75.46%
Conditional pass 221 4.53%
Fail 977 20.02%
Total 4881

Fees for 2008 were N220,000 (plus N15,000 to buy the form), whereas they will be N320,000 for this year's intake (plus N15,000 for the form). Meanwhile, out of the four campuses, only Abuja has internet facilities and regular water supply. The three other campuses - in Lagos, Kano and Enugu - have no internet and no regular water supply. More campuses are being planned at present.

Questions should be raised about why 75% of the students achieved only a pass (which is more or less considered a fail mark). Is this because of the poor quality of the intake, or the lowering standards of teaching at the law schools? Is it really acceptable for three out of the four campuses to have no running water and basic sanitation facilities? Shouldn't the problems with infrastructure be sorted out at these campuses before any more campuses are developed?


Anonymous,  3:01 pm  

Your arithmetic is terribly off. Doesn't the 75% refer to those with marks of pass and higher?

Someone with a calculator should do the real figures.

Anonymous,  3:48 pm  

This is not the author's maths O! It is the calculation from the Nigerian Law School. I fortunately was among the 2s. thank God.

First 4
2.1 103
2.2 572
Pass 3004 -75.46%*
Con pass 221 - 4.53%
Fail 977 - 20.02%

Grand Total of students 4,881

*Overall pass, including 1st Class, 2nd Class Upper, 2nd Class lower and pass

Anonymous,  3:57 pm  

First class 0.08%
Upper second 2%
Lower second 12%
Pass 62%
Conditional pass 4.5%
Fail 20%

It's not such a bad thing. It means grade inflation is under control.

Goy 6:33 pm  

Not directly conected, but when I was at Ife, one of my lecturers boasted that he saw no reason why the faculty should award a first, since he had graduated from Ife and could only manage a Upper 2nd.

At the time - and this was a while ago, admittedly - no one had left Ife Law with the first.

the technical term for this sort of behaviour is Ba-Belle, or spite, and IMHO goes hand in hand with students buying exam papers - if the playing field is uneven, and the referee keeps shifting the goal posts, why bother playing fair?

BTW, I loathe - absolutely loathe - the phrase 'grade inflation'. Set a standard exam, and award the marks deserved, instead of f***ing around with marks in the name of 'standardisation'.

In case you are interested, I left Ife with a Third and Law School with not much better. All my fault, though...

me,  7:11 pm  

lol @ the last anon.

Not so funny if u paid ur money and did the time.

oguro,  9:44 pm  

Commonsense isn't common in Nigeria, you probably worked that out already. A 'normal' society would develop quality first not quantity, Nigeria as we know can only be described as a perverse state.
Our educational system is beyond a joke yet the morons in charge want to build more universities and insist on free education for all to tertiary level without the economic framework that can absorb graduates. It's a joke of country run by a bunch kola chomping morons. Mediocrity is celebrated, the standards of performance generally are appalling when it comes to producing anything, yet the buggers are top of the class at looting. The country needs help we sure as hell don't need more 'charge and bail' lawyers, we need more trained peaople who can THINK, IMPLEMENT, DELIVER and NOT STEAL.!!!! my rant ends...

Chad 10:23 pm  

Again people who know nothing about the Nigerian education system running their mouths. The exams are designed that way. The averages always fall like this by design. A pass is not a bad thing or a sign of mediocrity. When I was in Ife law school, it was designed like that. To give credence to whether it is a standard of mediocrity, you would have to compare the results to the past ten or twenty years to verify if the distribution is any different. I know England uses a similar distribution. Regarding the lack of internet connectivity and water, if it's true, that's a shame considering 220000 Naira among 4000 students should cover such facilities or maybe not? That said water problem is a Nigerian society problem and therefore would also be part of the University or law schools as well.

Lost at The End 11:35 pm  

I don't get it. If every tom dick and harry university in Nigeria is getting wired, why are law schools lagging behind?

Uniben gets less fees and probably as much money from the government and Uniben is almost fully wired.

Anonymous,  7:53 am  

the issue on my mind is, why is the law school still giving grades like 2.1 or 2.2. This is a professional exam. It should either be pass or fail. Even in the medical school, its either u pass or fail. nothin more

Anonymous,  12:32 pm  

to last Anon, I couldn't agree with you more.

or they should do what they do in the UK for masters: distinction, pass or fail end off.

maitumbi,  1:44 pm  

From where I see it, 25% failure rate can declared as system failure. For X's sake, they all already had undergraduate law degrees!

This "Bad belle" scoring system is part reason why nigerians are studying abroad and foreign professional certification are preferred to local ones.

Unfortunately, the nigerian law school is still a monopoly.

Anonymous,  7:42 pm  

call me a smug... the reason most people leave law school is because they just didnt apply themselves... the exam is the most fair that can be, u r not examined on anything u r not taught but lot of students are lazy!simple... when lecturers in the 04/05 session started using powerpoint slides,a whooooooole of students complained cos they prefered notes being dictated as opposed to the bullet point appraoch where u have to read further... as to the amount of fees versus failing, the more reason why people need to buckle up. When u go into law school, ur going in on a fresh slate, previous grades made in uni have no bearing. i have no idea why people cant reinvent themselves if they were formerly 'slow'!! There should be grade classifications abeg, yeah everyone goes through lawschool but some applied themselves more...

Jobs in Nigeria 7:35 am  

wow somuch failures?

Anonymous,  8:17 am  

The Nigerian Law School is a BIG JOKE and a BIGGER SHAM. I was there!

Anonymous,  9:02 am  

with so much failure, the problem cannot simply be the students not working hard enough. The mass failure (especially when a pass is considered a fail by students and employers alike) is a systemic failure and the students cannot be entirely blamed. Nearly 5000 students cannot all be lazy. Something is terrible wrong.
Nigeria is the only country where lecturers are reluctant to give deserving students high grade because the want to maintain an attitude of toughness and rigor. This is really a pity.

Kola,  11:55 am  

Hey, you are guys are MISSING the point. How the law school gives its degree qualification is based on your lowest score? that means you can get a pass or 2.2 and still have a total average score of over 60 or 70.

So if you get a 1st class in every other subject but a 2.2 in one subject. You grade is a 2.2 but your average is high. Its an unfair system but it has been there for decades and that is really what Jeremy's post should focus on?

Anonymous,  7:46 pm  

Wow, is Kola telling the truth?...........

Anonymous,  12:13 pm  

In addition to choosing your lowest score to grade you, i think once you fail a module- they automatically fail you regardless of how well you did in other modules.

My mum did it a few yrs ago and that is what she told me. She passed on her 3rd attempt but told me she kept failig one module with accounting for lawyers but passed all others and as a result, she had to redo the exams.

Onibudo 4:04 pm  

As someone who had a pass out of law school I am surprised that anyone would consider it a fail. In fact there is an honourable tradition of those who do not do well in the exams but excel in the Law Courts. For most part this is a mix of litigation and solicitor courses. it is not unusual for those who are primarily excellent advocates to have some problem in the simulated courses like legal drafting. It will be a true plus if people who comment do so on the basis of understanding the facts. The issue of infra-structure is a different one. having been called to the bar in the 80s when there was only one Law School and it was quite a well served premises in Victoria Island I suspect the introduction of new campuses multiplies organisational challenges and increases the likelihood that the problems that have been highlighted can happen.

I regret the need to constantly find something to complain or blog about leads to overreach whatever the problems of the facility there is nothing unusual in the sort of result either in the history of the legal profession in Nigeria or in similar professional qualifications across the world.

Titilola,  10:53 am  

but Kola is right O!!

I felt victim to this rule of one failure cancels out all passes a few years ago. After two attempts I gave up on ever practicing law in Nigeria and I returned to the UK where I now work in a successful practice in the City. In my situation, I came out with a First from Ife and a distinction in my Masters from Bristol university. And then I returned to start Law school (the facility in VI was shit shit shit a few years ago, but I had a fantastic time). In all my subjects I was between 1st class and upper second. But I just couldn't pass Accounting for lawyers. This was really really painful for me. I felt it was an unfair way to arrive at ones final mark. It was not only unfair, it was cruel. I will never be able to really practice in Nigeria 'cause of the law school's idiosyncratic grading system.

Even though I know that the problem is not with me but the system, I still see it as a failure on my part. And I still feel very hurt by it whenever I think about it. yes, some of the readers might say get over it, but the truth it is unjust. One lousy fail in one equally lousy subject that I have no need or desire for.

Ok I have rant enough.

Ayoka 5:04 pm  

Uniben gets more income.
Govt budget is of the view that Law school is not necessary for everyone- it's post tertiary after all.

and there is water in law school, the wireless is just botched.

The actual issue- Law school is graded by your least score- this means that if you get As in five courses and 1 E- you automatically graduate with a pass.
Rationale is that a lawyer should be well-rounded- you should know every area of the basic law that is taught.
It just means you have to work extra hard and manage your time.
- and rely on God too.
Find a balance.

Anonymous,  10:59 pm  

you didn't have a first in Ife.
At least not in all- our First have had firsts in law school except for my set- they had 2.1s.

I think doing well is excelling no matter how hard or uncomfortable it is- at least others pass.
Beat the system- and move on.

or rant on!

Riche 10:00 am  

The fees foe law school now has increased beyond this

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