Council of Higher Education report recommends extensive changes to the LLB programme.

A report published by the Council of Higher Education (CHE) on the Bachelor of Law (LLB) curriculum says that requirements for the course at top universities such as Wits are too high and make it hard for students to progress from one level to another.

The report, “The State of the Provision of the Bachelor of Laws (LLB) Qualification in South Africa”, found that point score requirements are too high, and also highlighted a range of shortcomings in the degree.

Those shortcomings include too many students on each law programme.

Wits University’s admissions and career development officer

LLB students outside the Law Clinic discuss issues pertaining to the law degree. Photo: Masechaba Kganyapa

Wanda Ndlozi told Wits Vuvuzela the law degree is intense but does not limit the number of students who can apply to and register for the course.

Ndlozi agreed that requirements are high. There are many courses on the programme that make it difficult for students to progress, he said.

“If I say the requirements for law are not high … I will be lying,” he said. “The volume of the work in the course they need to cover is actually a lot, but that is what the degree requires.”

The 98-page report also states that institutions of law need to improve their teaching of critical thinking skills, as the lack of such skills inhibits students from progressing.

Teaching critical thinking is hampered by classes that are too large, the report says. The CHE thus recommends universities accept fewer students into their LLB programmes.

“The sub-minimum requirements for the course are high, because that is the requirement for legal practice in any field. Law School and commerce students are studying with the aim of working in a specific profession,” said 22-year-old law student Xabiso Ndinisa.

Ndlozi said the high requirements are determined by changes in the legal environment, which is updated over the years.

“Latest judgment [from the CHE] informs the style and teaching of certain courses and the principles that come from the latest judgment,” said Ndlozi.

FEATURED IMAGE: Wits School of Law admission requirements have been judged too high by the Council of Higher Education.  Photo: Masechaba Kganyapa