LAHORE: A law colleges commission formed by the Lahore High Court to examine quality of legal education imparted by institutions in Punjab, and their authenticity, has expressed serious concerns over the output of five-year LLB programme.

An initial report submitted by commission Chairman Anwar Kamal notes a total lack of coordination between universities, Higher Education Commissions (federal and provincial) and the provincial bar councils in the matter of affiliation of law colleges.

It says the five-year syllabus has also given rise to certain anomalies as courses in the first two years are not related to law – political science, sociology, English and Arabic. Those in the remaining three years are identical to the earlier three-year LLB course, the report states.

“In fact, there appears to be no improvement/reform in the syllabus nor is there any difference between the earlier three-year course and the five-year programme in so far as the subsequent three-year course of study is concerned,” it maintains.

Says varsities grant affiliation to private colleges on provisional basis against rules

The report further notes that there is no exit strategy for students who opt for the five-year programme and they have to either complete it or drop out with no credit for the years spent. The commission says the issues need to be attended on priority, and asks the court to set up a ‘Law Colleges Academic Commission’ for the purpose. The report also expresses concerns over the existing examination methodology calling it a rote-based, outdated system. It calls for a complete overhaul of the system after due deliberation.

About the affiliation of law colleges, the report reveals that the process is not finalised until close to commencement of admissions. It recommends that the affiliation process be finalised by or before the 15th day of July every year as admissions start in August.

It further recommends that final list of approved affiliated colleges be notified by the universities and communicated to bar councils concerned, the federal and provincial HECs and also uploaded on websites of the respective universities for the benefit of the people.

The commission says universities have been granting affiliation to private colleges on provisional basis in violation of rules. It recommends that the universities be directed to grant affiliation to only those colleges that meet minimum standards set by Pakistan Bar Council, HECs and universities at the time of the evaluation and not leave the standards to be met later.

After going through the report, a full bench headed by Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah on Friday summoned chairman of affiliation committees at Punjab University, Bahauddin Zakariya University Multan and Islamia University of Bahawalpur on July 3.

Published in Dawn, July 1st, 2017