Saturday, December 3, 2022

Problems faced by law students in Nepal

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Keshav Gharti Magar

“I chose to go to law school because I thought that someday, somehow, I’d make a difference.” – Christopher Darden

The life of law students like us in Nepal is the toughest period of life. The enthusiasm or excitement that was there prior to enrolling in the law campus, is gradually turning into stress and anxiety, after enrolling in the law campus. With the flow of time, it is natural for anxiety, pressure and stress creep into student’s life. Taking anxiety as part of life and converting them into joy is a real quality of law students. In order to overcome it, from colleagues to assistant lecturer to Dean to Vice-chancellor have a vital role in determining the future of law students. Therefore, they have to accomplish their duties and responsibilities within their respective prescribed limits. Unfortunately, this is not often seen in practice.

Most of us are aware that law and politics are inter-related to each other but by saying this, is it worthwhile to do party politics in the education sector? Will it be beneficial for the students in further days? Seriously, I’m craving for just and proper information concerning this matter from all parties concerned. I may be wrong, but I believe that party politics shouldn’t be included in our legal education. My friends engaged in political organization at an accelerated pace and that’s fine at a some point because it’s all about the interest of the individual however in the name of uplifting the quality of education, abuse of power for own vested interest is not good at all.

Party politics is undoubtedly more responsible for lowering the level of legal education in the campus or university. Just as our minds affect all parts of the body, so the political appointments of officials i.e. from campus chief to Dean to Vice-chancellor have had a greater impact on our legal education. In fact, it is a shame that most of the lecturers in campuses / universities are appointed on the basis of affiliation with political parties or big leaders, nepotism, favoritism, etc. not on the basis of merit and ability. This trend is very disgraceful for the universities and the country itself. Vacancies are advertised only for formalities. Surprisingly, the Chancellor of the universities is always the sitting Prime Minister in our country. This is the root of the problem.

Party politics is undoubtedly more responsible for lowering the level of legal education in the campus or university.

The policy makers of the respective countries are assumed to know and understand what kind of education is required for any country in the world. This is an international practice. Furthermore, there are Bar councils all over the world to develop curricula and to regulate legal education periodically, and they also carry out their responsibilities accordingly. Universities are only allowed to teach courses approved by the council. But in Nepal, Nepal Bar Council has shied away from its responsibilities and limited its responsibilities only to the examination of advocates, while various universities have been determining the curriculum of legal education in their own way. This is a very serious question of legal education in the present scenario.    

Talking about lecturers, they should not just teach on the basis of old books and notes and as mentioned in Google. The relevance of the old philosophies and doctrines should be explained with the current situation linking to our Nepali society and Nepalese legal system. It means that teaching learning methods should not be limited only to lecture method. It should be as practical, and research oriented as possible. Additionally, lecturers should have good command in English language since the language of instruction and examination is in English. Even if one does not have a good command over the English language, one should have the ability to clearly explain the concerned subject matter with examples in Nepali tongue.

If these two things do not happen then the objective of 5-year BALLB program/course becomes meaningless. As a result, universities produce herds of boastful every year instead of scholars. And if there is a majority of boastful in the society and the nation, then the justice system will collapse and somewhen the country will collapse and so will we. 

Now we are on the path of legal field and creativity. Success in the legal profession requires a great deal of study, perseverance, creativity and ingenuity. For that, Campuses or universities should provide the necessary thematic competent teachers in each semester’s classroom and adequate educational materials in libraries. What would be the condition of the students basically in the lack of these two things?

On the one hand, the language of instruction and examination is said to be English, but in today's competitive era, when all subjects are taught in Nepali language and is there a shortage of law books recommended in the syllabus in the library, how can students compete? These questions are very sensitive. On the other hand, there is big competition among different campuses/universities to run the 5-year BA LLB program. 

In fact, to make legal education compatible with changed national and international context, various workshops, seminars, research-oriented programs, competitions and so on should be conducted to improve the capacity and confidence level of the students and make them proficient in their respective subjects. For this, every law campus should have proficient mentors or trainers or if necessary, they should be made available. Today, some law campuses and their students are deprived of participating in various competitions like moot courts, seminars, workshops etc. organized by national and international level due to lack of proficient mentors or trainers.

The problem arises when 5-year BALLB is taken into account as 3-year LLB course/program. In short, legal education should be practical and research oriented as far as possible, otherwise we will face many problems and obstacles in this competitive market in the coming days.

Also, law students need to be more creative, logical and analytical than other students. Here, I am not daring to insult other faculty students, but the reality is that law students should not acquire only knowledge about the national and international law but also learn the skills because they should know how to deal with new issues in changing time and context. Moreover, over time, law students need to be more brilliant with honesty and, importantly, develop the art or habit of speaking only after in-depth study of any subject.

Writer Magar

Hence, if the concerned campuses or universities do not meet the basic educational needs of students, then those issues should be presented in a systematic manner but not in an unreasonable manner. As law students, we ourselves should not break the law. Demands cannot be met by vandalism in any bad or rough way. Because the loss is ours in the end and we have to be responsible for it. Therefore, the organization should not be damaged and harmed in the name of gaining rights. Such issues or unsolved matters can also be resolved by choosing other alternatives.

We law students, as a matter of fact, have to be more diligent because hard work makes us strong and proficient in our profession in the future. Also, campuses/ universities should be responsible for the quality education of the students because the better the product, the more famous the name of the campus / university is. Therefore, let’s all be more responsible and serious for this from our respective level and express our commitment too that we will make a difference someday, somehow being law students as said by Cristopher Darden. 

The writer is a student of BALLB (fourth semester) at Lumbini Buddhist University.

Published on 22 April 2022