University of Zambia acting registrar Rodgers Phiri says UNZA School of Law was, by far, the strongest performer in the recently ended ZIALE examinations.

And Phiri says UNZA School of Law is still, by far, the premier Law School in the country adding that, no other University surpasses UNZA in the number of students that are ultimately called to the Bar.

In a statement issued, Friday, Phiri stated that due to misinformation on media platforms about the performance of UNZA School of Law students in ZIALE examinations, UNZA was taking a step to publicly set the record straight, after conducting a statistical analysis of the released results.

“On October 19, 2018, the Zambia Institute of Advanced Legal Education (ZIALE) publicly released the results of its 2017-2018 Legal Practitioners’ Qualifying Examinations (LPQ Examinations). We have conducted a statistical analysis of the released results which are independently verifiable and public facts,” Phiri stated.

“Further, this statement itself, is not intended to sensationalise the ZIALE examination results for any gain or advantage to UNZA or its School of Law, but simply to provide the general public and stakeholders with an accurate set of facts on which to base their perceptions. As will be evident from the facts presented in this statement, the UNZA School of Law was, by far, the strongest performer in the recently ended ZIALE examinations.”

Phiri stated that approximately 379 students sat for the final ZIALE Examinations adding that out of this number, approximately 28 percent were UNZA degree holders.

He stated that among the four students who passed the ZIALE examinations, three were first-attempt passers while the other one was not sitting for the first time.

Phiri added that one of those three “first-attempt passers” was an UNZA degree holder.

“Out of the 379 students attempting the examination for the first time, only three students cleared all 10 courses. This translates to an overall pass rate of 0.8 percent. The fourth candidate mentioned in the press was not sitting the LPQ Examination for the first time. The public may also wish to know that one of these three “first-attempt passers” is a UNZA degree holder,” he stated.

“Since 2013, UNZA has been running two Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) streams: a “general stream” at UNZA Great East Road Campus and a “commercial law stream”, in conjunction with the Zambia Centre for Accountancy Studies. Graduates from both streams receive University of Zambia (UNZA) law degrees.”

And Phiri stated that the widely publicised news that no UNZA degree holder passed the examinations, was wholly untrue.

He further stated that a staggering 92 percent of all candidates who passed nine out of the 10 courses examined, were UNZA degree holders.

“86 percent of these students were drawn from our main stream and six percent were drawn from our commercial stream. Further, all of the UNZA students that failed only one course, failed the exact same course. This may indicate that our students encountered a common problem in that particular course. We intend to analyse what problems the students may have encountered in order to make necessary interventions that will assist our students when they re-sit the course in December, 2018,” Phiri stated.

He bragged that no other University surpassed UNZA in the number of students that were ultimately called to the Bar out of any given cohort.

“The true picture of any law school’s performance is therefore not in the small sliver of students that clear on the first attempt, which this time around, is 0.8 percent; but rather, in the number of students, from any given University, that are ultimately called to the Bar out of any given cohort. In this regard, no other University surpasses UNZA. With the strong performance of our students this year, we have no reason to believe that it will be any different with this cohort,” Phiri stated.

“For seven years straight (2011-2018), UNZA has recorded the best overall performance at ZIALE. This unrivalled performance must be understood in the context of the serious resource challenges plaguing all public universities. In spite of these debilitating challenges, the performance of our students at ZIALE has remained unrivalled. We attribute this solid performance to the resilience of our students, as well as to the first-rate academic staff which is the School of Law’s greatest asset.”

Meanwhile, Phiri stated that UNZA Law School academic staff possessed rich experience drawn from law practice, government, advocacy, as well as regional and international organisations of repute.

He stated that the UNZA School of Law was still, by far, the premier Law School in the country.

“It leads in research output. It leads in the education level and international standing of its teaching complement. It leads in the overall performance of its graduates at ZIALE. It leads in the provision of quality legal education. We also wish to state that despite the challenges faced by the UNZA School of Law, it remains committed to providing first class legal education, and to preparing its students for the legal realities of a globalised world,” stated Phiri.