LDC Calls For Investigations Into First-Class Law Degrees From Universities Amidst Rising Failure Rates

 LDC Calls For Investigations Into First-Class Law Degrees From Universities Amidst Rising Failure Rates

By Spy Uganda

Kampala: The Head Bar Course at Law Development Centre (LDC), Annet Karungi has urged the Law Council to launch an investigation into the issuance of first-class degrees by certain universities in Uganda.

Karungi Expressed concern over the increasing number of students with first class law degrees who struggle during LDC’s training, often repeating various subjects and causing a backlog in the system.

“I think we have observed that the pattern in the last academic years they are really not necessarily the best, and many of them (students) actually end up clogging the system, repeating various subjects. So it is something we have shared with Law Council and we are hopeful as a regulator, they will take it up and address it at the time of regulation and accreditation of the law Schools,” Karungi said while appearing before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee to defend the 2024/25 national budget framework paper.


Karungi shared her observations from past academic years, emphasizing that the students obtaining top grades may not necessarily be the best candidates further noting that the Law Council as a regulatory body should take up the matter during the regulation and accreditation of law schools.

Responding to inquiries from Members of Parliament about students being denied admission to LDC despite paying for the course, Karungi noted that no student who paid for the current academic year (2023/24 intake) was rejected adding that the Centre received over 3000 applicants for the current intake, and due to limited facilities, some could not be accommodated.


“In the process of admission, we realized that something is coming up, but I believe Law Council will handle it. You find that applicants from certain Universities, almost the entire class have first class or upper second class, so we have to devise a fair method of admission and we decided to take on 60% from each University.”

She added, “So what we did, ranking from the first to 60% , we took on the top most from each University, the rest were admitted and given offer letters for next academic year, which is really guaranteed.”

The Increasing Failure Rate


Over the years, LDC, the only institution in Uganda that offers the Bar Course leading to the award of the post-graduate Diploma in Legal Practice has been under fire over the increasing rates of students failing final exams.

In the academic year 2019/2020, only 20 percent of the students passed the Bar Course, while the figure increased to about 42 percent in the academic year 2020/2021.

Following the development, Parliament called for a value-for-money audit to ascertain why students are failing the Shs6 million tuition bar course.

“My major concern is the high levels of students who are failing your exams; it was a big concern in the 10th Parliament and even today. I wonder how a brilliant mind can lecture students who are all dull and they all fail. So where is the value for the money? Hon Suubi Kinyamatama (NRM, Rakai district) said during a meeting with officials from LDC over the Auditor General’s report for 2020/2021 Financial Year on November 28 2022.

Hon Kinyamatama said that one of the factors contributing to failure at the law school is the shrinking facilities that are failing to absorb the rising number of students following the abolition of the mandatory pre-entry exams to qualify to join LDC.

Frank Nigel Othembi, Director, LDC, acknowledged the high levels of student failure over time and attributed it to many underlying factors including budgetary shortcomings, shortage of facilities, and individual concentration levels. He was quick to state that LDC is doing its best and the performance has since improved in the three campuses of Kampala, Mbarara, and Lira.

“There is some improvement [in performance]; in the 2019/20 academic year, only 20 percent passed the bar course. But 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,” Othembi said in November 2022.

Othembi said that despite the low pass rate at the Kampala campus, there is a high rate of success on other campuses in Mbarara and Lira which registered 50 percent and 45 percent pass rate respectively.

“At Kampala campus, 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 using it, and they are not sitting in discussion groups, but when you go to Mbarara or Lira, even at 6.00 pm students are discussing,” Othiembi added.

But with all the assurances above, the results seem to prove otherwise as the increasing failure rates have continued up to date.

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