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THE CHALLENGES FACED BY THE LEGAL EDUCATION SYSTEM

INTRODUCTION

The role of lawyers has been drastically changed in our society. In recent times, the scope and ambit have got widen up and its impact is felt in every sphere of human life. Legal Education can be regarded as an instrument for social design and the law being the mechanism for the social egalitarian society. The very foundation of the legal education and the bases has been like a cat on the wall. Since Law is the foundation of every society or the nation, legal education of the people is ‘Sine quo non’. Legal education not only paves way for law-abiding citizens but also produces radiant academicians, ambitious judges, astounding lawyers, and magnificent jurists.

THE MUSHROOM OF CHALLENGES

Alteration of the syllabus has become the need of the hour. The current curriculum in law schools has been excoriated for not including subjects which are essential in the current context for lawyers. Law schools are facing a perplexing variety of competing demands for the reformation of the current curriculum. The curriculum is still in the embryonic stage wherein the students are taught the outmoded syllabus. Many private law schools consist of none or few optional subjects or electives and a set of core subjects. Added to that, law schools still encounter the problem of introducing new and contemporary subjects at the cost of focusing on important and vital subjects. Furthermore, the curriculum which is being followed contains syllabus for a three-year course when most of the colleges and law schools have shifted to a 5-year course. New and emerging law schools (especially private institutions) limit their focus to teaching and research on issues relating to Indian law. 

Considering the fact that, there is a high volume of participation in international moot court competitions, the appetite of law students for understanding international and comparative law has inextricably increased over the year. Law schools must ensure that students are educated with a fair mix of courses that sculpt them into better lawyers by providing them knowledge and training in Indian law, but at the same time formulate them for facing the challenges in the outside world with both international and foreign legal systems. 

  • A Quest for Quality 

Another pertinent issue which needs to be brought to light is the quality of education provided by the law schools. The quality of legal education involves entry to the college, curriculum, method of examination and qualification of the faculty members in the college. Quality is not a standalone virtue. There is a wide gap in the quality of education provided by National Law Universities and other law schools. Most of the Private law institutions are mediocre and it would be an irreparable mistake if we rest content with few star colleges. Such law schools alone cannot bring about a change in the standards of education. The other law schools are unable to offer more optional subjects and meet the basic standards. It is high time that this issue needs to be taken into consideration and be resolved at the earliest. 

  • Examination assessment 

The real benefit from any curriculum can be procured only if the knowledge is tested in an objective scenario. The examination system in law schools must be stringent and eliminate malpractices. The nature of questions must be analytical in such a way that it makes the students produce the application of law rather than the reproduction of law and cases that are already in textbooks. Such a step would ensure that students apply their independent thinking in answering them. 

  • Research and Learning 

Law School plays a pivotal role in the creation and dissemination of knowledge. Faculty members should encourage the students to research and write persuasive memoranda on projects assigned to them and should put an embargo on those projects which are plagiarized. Plagiarism affects the quality of academic writing. Most of the projects submitted by the students are often plagiarized due to the apathetic attitude of the professors in evaluating the projects. Many a time, professors give maximum marks to all the students irrespective of the fact whether the student has completed the project assigned to him or not. This has built a wrong impression on the students who work hard and submit their projects on time.

  • No Practical approach towards law

The syllabus of most of the colleges are based on theory and hence the students find it disinteresting and boring. Most of the private institutions make the most technical subjects like Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure, Code of Civil Procedure, Evidence, Constitution of India etc. purely theoretical. One cannot expect the students to excel in later stages when they have been taught this way that meagerly stimulate their interest. Furthermore, internal assessments conducted by the professors (comprising a great part of the overall percentage) are done based on the theory presented to the respective subject professor. 

  • Medium of Instruction

A number of private institutions govern education in regional languages. As a result, a number of aspirants in certain states are admitted to institutions without even having the efficient fluency in the English language. Most of the statutes, cases, law books and all other materials related to law are in English. There are not enough textbooks in regional languages to overcome these shortcomings. In the end, the students not only fail to have adequate knowledge about the subject but also fails to establish necessary communication skills to practice the profession properly. 

  • Exorbitant differences among law schools 

Although India is known for some reputed national law universities, on the other hand, there are few private institutions in the name of law colleges, freely give the degrees to the students without even bothering to provide a suitable education. This, in turn, affects the students graduating from different law schools wherein the quality of students from distinct institutions is enormously different when compared to other private institutions because of the vast difference in the extent and kind of education they gain.

  • Degradation of the word ‘HONS’ (Honours)

Many universities that provide five-year law programme with ‘honours’ degree i.e., B.B.A., LLB(HONS), B.com.,LLB(HONS), etc. often do not facilitate the students or provide an opportunity for the students to take up a substantial subject of their interest or dissertation during their final year of study. This discourages the students pursuing their higher studies as they fail to establish their area of interest. 

  • International programs and experience 

Indian Law colleges and universities must consider innovation and provide the students with the best of the international programs. Most of the law colleges fail to send the students to summer abroad programs or semester abroad programs which would enhance their skill set and help them in the future. Law schools must make necessary amenities to send the students to such abroad programs which are offered by many foreign universities.  

CONCLUSION

In a nutshell, the law schools in the present era have gone downhill. The Legal Education should be able to meet the dynamic demands of the society and be equipped to provide with the complexities of the different situations. The area of deficiency should be located and fixed by competent persons before it goes beyond the reach. Law Schools should respond to these challenges faced by the students with some self-evaluation as these issues hinder the growth and development of the students. Timely reforms must be made to the current legal education system. Apart from the moot courts, it is high time practical approach is brought in the curriculum.  

Obsolete and outdated curriculum and assessment pattern including the absence of interactive syllabus and improper division of subjects.  

– V.S.Krishna 
B.B.A., LLB (HONS), V Year

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