Are law students failing the bar examination or is it the other way round?

I know it has been all over the social media and the newspapers that almost all students from the Kenya school of law, have failed the bar examinations. It is not the first time really, ever since the Council of Legal Education took over the setting of examinations it has been a norm every time the bar exam results are out. This is when you see people going to social media castigating the law students without having the backstory.

First, for those who do not know law students are taught by Kenya school of law, exams are set by the council of legal education and then they are marked by totally different people who are contracted. This means the people who will teach you are not the people who will set your exam and the people who will set your exam are not the people who will mark the exams. When the students were being taught by one institution and the same institution is the one that set and marked the exams, there were no headlines of how students have failed the exams.

Secondly, when you fail one paper there is always an option of having the paper remarked, which will mean that you will have to part with fifteen thousand per paper. Then there is the option of re-siting the paper which will mean you will have to part with ten thousand Kenya shillings. In most instances, there is normally no humble time to first remark your paper to see if you will pass it before opting to re-sit. This means you will have to pay twenty-five thousand shillings per paper if you have opted to first remark it before re-siting it. If you have failed four papers and have opted to first remark it before opting to re-sit you will have to part with one hundred thousand Kenya shillings which is almost half the school fees that you paid to enroll in the Kenya school of law. This is one of the reasons it gets to me when people say things like “This law students do not read and just post on Twitter and Facebook.” First, how on earth does one expressing their freedom of expression go hand in hand with failing the bar examinations? Secondly, who on earth would be aware of the cost of failing exams would intentionally want to fail their bar examination?

Thirdly, before 2015 people were doing four questions within three hours, however since 2015 you had to do five questions with the same three hours. There are students who even tried to go to court to have this changed but were unfortunately unsuccessful. So you have to do five questions out of six questions within three hours which trust me is not easy particularly for a course like law which is theoretical with a lot of statutes, legislation, and case law. Most students actually fail not because they did not read but because they were caught up with time.

This is a matter that is so close to my heart because it is something that I have gone through and I have also faced the same situations. I know how it feels when you have failed the examination yet you gave it your all it is even worst when you have to re-sit the paper more than once. It is therefore very unfortunate that there are people out there that are castigating the students just based on the news headlines without really understanding the back story. The saddest part is that most news outlets are always going for the story and headline that will sell and do not take the time to give the backstory.

In my own opinion, the bar examination should be taught set and marked by one institution just like before 2015. Secondly, the number of questions should be reduced to the normal four or it should remain five and hours increased. Thirdly, the amount for re-sit and remark should be reduced, or if a person remarks and passes his or her money should be refunded since clearly, the fault was on the examiners. Currently, I really feel that it is the bar examinations failing the students and not the law students failing the bar examination.

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