PAC Questions LDC Officials on High Failure Rate

Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee –PAC Central Government has questioned officials from the Law Development Centre (LDC) over the high level of student failures.

The officials led by the LDC Director, Frank Nigel Othembi, on Tuesday, appeared before the committee to answer audit queries raised by Auditor General, John Muwanga, in the financial year 2020/2021.

Documents before the committee indicate that only 20 percent of students passed the Bar Course in the academic year 2019/2020 and in the academic year 2020/2021, 42 percent passed.

Othembi acknowledged the high failure levels at LDC over time but attributed it to several underlying factors like budget shortfalls, shortage of facilities, and individual concentration levels. 

He told MPs that LDC is doing its best to improve the performance of students in the three campuses of Kampala, Mbarara, and Lira.

“The last group that graduated, 42 percent passed. This percentage may not look much but given the fact that we now take on everybody after removing the pre-entry exams, so many people will find LDC a bit challenging,” said Othembi.

He added that despite the low pass rate at the Kampala, 50 percent of the students at Mbarara passed while 45 percent passed at the Lira campus.

Othembi says that several distractions like weddings in Kampala affect the performance of students. 

According to Othembi, students do not adequately utilize the library at the LDC Kampala campus and they are quick to leave the campus after class for other activities.

“Students enter the class at 10 am, attend for 4 hours and get into their cars and drive out. We have a library that can accommodate 100 people, and at first, we thought it is small, but when you go there it is always empty. Students are not even sitting in discussion groups. But when you go to Mbarara or Lira, even at 6 pm students are discussing,” he added.

Besides the students, Othembi also said that their lecturers are equally distracted by several issues.

“We have 80 lectures in Kampala. If someone is about to go and teach and a client walks in with 20 million Shillings for an urgent matter in court, that person is likely to first go to court, which is different from Lira or Mbarara campus. The Bar course is a very demanding program,” he said.

Juliet Kinyamatama, the Rakai Woman MP called for a value-for-money audit into the operations of LDC to ascertain why students are not performing well. 

She said that a value-for-money audit into LDC operations will inform parliament of the challenges that require solutions to improve the performance of the students.

Fredrick Angura, the acting Committee Chairperson said that a value-for-money audit is important to help address challenges at the Law Development Centre.    

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