THE legal fraternity has committed to supporting law faculties across the country in implementing government’s Education 5.0 and make its modular system a success.
This emerged at the close of a stormy two-day Legal Education indaba held in Nyanga and hosted by the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ). The conference was attended by representatives from the Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs ministry, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), National Prosecuting Authority, Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education (Zimche), Council for Legal Education, the Attorney-General and the five law faculties in the country.
In an interview, LSZ president Rumbidzai Matambo described the indaba as an eye-opener.
“Prior to the indaba, I was sceptical and had my misgivings. However, after hearing the insights into the different contributions by the various stakeholders, I am confident that if we commit to the resolutions agreed to and the milestones we have set for ourselves, the future of the profession is indeed bright.
“We are confident that we can develop better legal practitioners. My mind is more certain now than I was before about the future of the profession,” Matambo said.
While many continue to view the modular system with scepticism arguing it does not offer students enough time to grasp concepts particularly law, there was a general agreement that the programme is here to stay. It was agreed that stakeholders would do well to support law faculties as best they could in order to make the most of the new system.
A standing committee on the implementation of legal education will be established to monitor all elements of legal education including the content of law degrees to ensure they capture key aspects of the profession.
Head of Judicial Service Commission Training Institute, Rosalie Katsande said: “JSC has undertaken a deliberate decentralisation drive to establish courts including the High Court in all areas. Law students should, therefore, be able to undertake their industrial attachment in a convenient manner. The JSC has also set up a dedicated training institute for continuing legal training. We are encouraging law schools to join us in crafting an industrial attachment framework for the legal profession.”
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Speaking on behalf of law faculties, Midlands State University dean of the law faculty Gift Manyatera said: “The key thing that came out of this indaba is the attributes of the law graduate emerging from our law schools. The first pillar is the knowledge that the graduate has to possess, secondly, it’s the legal skills and thirdly the applied competences expected of a law graduate who is ready for the market.”
“We have taken note of the concerns of the profession. The indaba has set key indicators that we as law faculties stand ready to implement for the greater good of the legal profession,” Manyatera said.
A Zimche official told the meeting that as long as stakeholders in the legal sector are agreed on the “minimum bodies” of degree programmes, the examination regulator is ready to put its seal of approval, as long as such content speaks to government policy.