From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt
The Rivers State Commissioner for Education, Prof Kaniye Ebeku, hascalled for major reforms in legal education in Nigeria, noting that low grade teachers are lowering the quality of legal education in the country.
This as Prof Ebeku has insisted that Law graduates of the National Open University (NOUN) are unfit to be admitted into the Nigerian Law School.
He said it was impending doom for the legal profession if the move to have NOUN graduates admitted into law schools succeeds
Professor Ebeku argued that the University has no competence to produce quality Law graduates, and if the move to admit them into the Law School succeeds that it will affect legal education and the legal profession in the Country.
Ebeku stated recently, at a programme organised by OCJ Okocha Chambers, Faculty of Law, Rivers State University, Port Harcourt.
Prof Ebeku, who spoke on a theme; ‘Challenges of Legal Education in Nigeria: A Need for Reform’, said the proliferation of Law Faculties in the country and political accreditation of Law Faculties/Programmes are part of the challenges of legal education in the country.
Speaking on the present quality of law teachers, he said: “A comparison of the quality of law teachers between 1962 and 1989 and 1990 to date will clearly show a downward trend”.
Ebeku stressed that “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.”
Prof Ebeku explained that academic corruption amongst 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 commissioner expressed that: “teaching methods which is lecturer centered is another major factor stagnating legal education in Nigeria” and advised that teaching methods should be student centered as done in the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe.
The one day programme was titled, ‘The Making of a Legend in the Legal Profession: An exemplary of O.C.J. Okocha’.