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n Journal for Juridical Science - The four-year undergraduate LLB : progress and pitfalls

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Abstract

In this paper, the historical and contextual factors that resulted in a change from a postgraduate LLB to an undergraduate LLB, as the single qualification for lawyers in South Africa in 1997 as part of a national transformation agenda, are reviewed. It is timely to consider whether the motivating reasons for introducing a four-year degree, to enhance representivity within the legal profession and to reduce the cost of obtaining a legal education, have been met. Systemic and structural features of post-apartheid South Africa, which reflect the legacy of unequal educational provision, a vast socio-economic divide, and a divided legal profession, continue to hamper attempts to redress past imbalances. A failing school system, ongoing poverty, and the underpreparedness of increasing numbers of students gaining access to higher education have produced data that reveals high university drop-out rates, particularly for African students, and distressingly low levels of student success at tertiary institutions. Dissatisfaction amongst stakeholders regarding the quality of law graduates has added to the current impasse as to how legal education can most effectively be improved. The establishment of a new Ministry of Higher Education and the undertaking of a research project on the effectiveness of the law curriculum by the Council on Higher Education both promise some possibility of flexibility and change in the future.


Hierdie artikel onderneem 'n oorsig van die historiese en kontekstuele faktore wat aanleiding gegee het tot die verandering van 'n nagraadse LL.B graad tot die voorgraadse LL.B. Dit is tydig om te oorweeg of daar uitvoering gegee is aan die redes ter motivering van die verandering. Hierdie redes sluit in die bevordering van verteenwoordiging ('representivity') in die regsprofessie, en om die koste verbonde aan die verkryging van 'n regsgraad te verminder. Sistemiese en strukturele kenmerke van post-apartheid Suid-Afrika, welke kenmerke die erfenis van ongelyke onderwysvoorsiening, wye sosio-ekonomiese gapings en 'n verdeelde regsberoep reflekteer, belemmer steeds pogings om ongelykheid aan te spreek. 'n Onsuksesvolle onderwysstelsel, voortdurende armoede, en die onvoorbereide aard van toenemende getalle studente wat toegang verkry tot tersiêre onderrig genereer data wat dui op hoë druipsyfers (veral vir swart studente) en uiters kommerwekkende lae vlakke van sukses vir studente by tersiêre instellings. Ontevredenheid onder belanghebbendes aangaande die kwaliteit van gegradueerdes in die regte dra by tot die huidige onsekerheid oor hoe regsonderrig mees doeltreffend verbeter kan word. Beide die totstandkoming van 'n nuwe Ministerie vir Hoër Onderwys en 'n navorsingsprojek oor die effektiwiteit van die regskurrikulum deur die Raad op Hoër Onderwys beloof die moontlikheid van buigsaamheid en verandering in die toekoms.

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/content/juridic/35/1/EJC55623
2010-06-01
2016-12-08
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