Vitalising Legal Education Via Institutional Co-Operation
The Pakistan Bar Council’s (PBC) Legal Education Rules (2015) reflect a welcoming initiative in the pursuit of changing the dilapidated 3-year LL.B degree program. The new rules will dampen the activities of profit centred private law colleges with dismal educational motives. However, the fruitful execution of the new 5-year LL.B course will be a challenging task for the institutions novice to the system. A flawed execution may end up in a more infertile system of education based upon nepotism and unskilled academia. The new system favours (to be more precise ‘requires’) a formalised institutional co-operation among the academia.
The co-operation must be based upon different aspects of the jointly approved curriculum of the High Education Commission (HEC) and PBC. An identical curriculum provides opportunities of mutual co-operation in order to bring more interest for the students and teaching faculty. The law schools across provinces (or across Pakistan ideally) must form an association for developing practices of co-operation. The co-operation can always be multi-faceted. I can identify some of them whereas innovation will always make its way when given an appropriate environment.
The exchange of faculty member(s) for a semester will always give a new life to the dying enthusiasm of a teacher. It will also help in an exchange of ideas regarding teaching skills and research projects with other members. Similarly, exchange of students for a semester will also give a new dimension to education. It is fruitful for the students, in order to experience not only interaction with different teachers but also a complete different educational institution. The course also includes a bunch of elective subjects in the final two semesters; a student may select to study his/her subject(s) of interest elsewhere, in cases where they are not available at the home institution. Similarly, moot cases and role playing has been introduced within the curriculum. It is now time to take this aspect of legal education seriously. Apart from an exercise within the law school, an annual inter-provincial moot-court competition in different fields of law must be organised by the association of the law schools. Moreover, the practice of legal research is non-existent within the law schools. This can be judged by the fact that there is no standard research journal in the field of law in Pakistan. There are a few journals published out of which one is accepted under category ‘Z’ of HEC; however that too is published without any peer reviews. There is a lack of legal research because, firstly, standard LL.M courses are only offered by a few law schools in Pakistan. Secondly, students are not involved in research projects during the LL.B degree. The new course demands a research project at the LL.B level. This practice must be galvanised by introducing student journals in different fields in order to improve the quality of research. The motivation of publishing a research paper will always be helpful in writing a standardised research project.
There are several other practices waiting to be adopted by the law schools. However, this can only happen when the conventional ways of legal education are changed with more modern and fruitful techniques. The young academicians have the will and capability only if supported by their senior head of departments.
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