By Our Reporter
MPs on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee have quizzed officials from Law Development Center (LDC) over the rampant failure rates among law students and cases of examination leakages.
The MPs raised the queries yesterday 13th January 2022 during the consideration of the 2022/2023 National Budget Framework Paper that LDC had appeared to defend.
Solomon Silwany (Bukooli Central) claimed without evidence that LDC has the highest failure rates in the country and tasked LDC to explain what modalities the Centre has in addressing this perennial problem.
“I think LDC has the highest failure rates in the country… How can LDC give someone results and later say when we were marking, we gave you false results and this person reaches an extent of dying. What is causing all this and what do you have in the long term to cure this?” said Silwanya.
Hamis Lukyamuzi, Secretary LDC attributed the high failure rates on the Covid-19 pandemic that prompted LDC administration to convert to the online teaching and assessment of students but the students were challenged with cost of internet and poor internet connectivity across the country.
“The issue of high failure rate has been on for a while, we tried to find lasting solutions but we can’t do away with whole failure rate, otherwise we can only minimise it. We tried to minimize failure rates and actually the past years the pass rate was 85% but come last year, there were disruptions in the academic calendar that explains the high failure rates in that academic year,” said Lukyamuzi.
He said some of the interventions being lined up is having smaller firms where students will have more interactions with lecturers.
During the meeting, Asuman Basalirwa (Bugiri Municipality) tasked LDC officials to respond to recent reports that some examination papers leaked ahead of final examinations, wondering whether the leakages were aggravated by minimal budgetary support from Government.
Basalirwa said, “In one of your examination sessions, a paper leaked and I think there was swift action from the administration. The paper was immediately recalled and students were given another paper. Incidences of this nature obviously cast LDC in bad light, I don’t know whether they are happening because of budgetary constraints or it is something else that the Committee needs to know.”
Lukyamuzi explained that LDC has an examination management policy where currently, the Centre operates an examination Bank that replaced the older practice of exams being set by individual heads of subjects.
“But now we have an examinations bank, the chief examiner requests a number of professional examiners who submit the questions and send them to the Director who selects the questions,” said Lukyamuzi.
However, Medard Lubega (Busiro East) questioned Lukyamuzi on how the examination can be leaked given the vigorous process adopted, wondering if Frank Nigel Othembi, Director Law Development Centre should be investigated on the examination leakages.
The Secretary LDC explained, “This case was a bit exceptional and I may not be in position to explain it now, we are still investigating how that happened and we shall inform the Committee.”
Yusuf Mutembuli (Bunyole East) however rubbished his explanation saying the matter happened months back and there is no way LDC can claim investigations are still going on.
He said, “Let us get serious, this is a matter that happened months back. I think the challenge is because the person you are supposed to investigate is a big person. If you are the person in charge, how did the paper leak? I think that is why it is becoming very difficult for you to investigate.”
The officials from LDC requested the Committee to give them one week within which they will furnish the Committee with findings from the investigation.
In the 2022/2023 national budget, LDC has been allocated Shs33.234Bn and of this, Shs8.443Bn will go towards payment of wages of staff, while non-wage activities will take Shs15.898Bn and the rest will cover other development projects.