AAU Holds National LL.B Framework Curriculum Validation Workshop

Addis Ababa University (AAU) College of Law and Governance Studies held a one day national LL.B. curriculum validation workshop at Inter Luxury Hotel on the 12th of August 2021.

Stakeholders drown from the academia, government agencies, and civic organization participated in the validation workshop፡ the president of the Federal Supreme Court, Hon. Meaza Ashenafi, Dr. Mulu Nega, State Minister for Minsitry of Science and Higher Education, and Mr. David De Giles /Feteh (Justice)/ Activity in Ethiopia graced the occasion by declaiming opening remarks.

The federal attorney general, Dr. Gedion Timotewos and Dr. Eba Mijena, Director General of Ministry of Science and Higher Education were in attendance.

A team of researchers composed of staff members from the School of Law of Addis Ababa University and regional universities as well as experts from overseas conducted review of the exiting harmonized modular LL.B curriculum (2013) and identified major weaknesses and strengths.

Based on the review report the team produced a draft framework curriculum presented in the workshop, in which, over 32 professionals drawn from 27 different institutions participated in the gap assessment research.

Dr. Biruk Haile, member of the curriculum review team, stated that legal education has not been able to properly contribute to prevalence rule of law, protection of human rights and promotion of democracy due to problems pertaining to ownership of the curriculum, design and content of the curriculum, challenges of implementation and resource constraints.

In particular, Dr. Biruk reiterated that the absence of research based periodic review of the LL.B curriculum has seriously affected quality and relevance of legal education. He also underlined that recent legal education reform initiatives have been partly motivated by pursuit of political ends and were not grounded on firm scholarly ambitions and consideration of real societal realities on the ground.

 The research revealed that the current curriculum has serious deficits relating to graduate attributes. In particular, it does not properly capture skills competence and it does not guarantee graduates will have attribute for original thinking; it also does not equip graduates with pluralistic values and quality for multicultural adaptability. More importantly, the current curriculum does not properly accommodate indigenous thoughts and philosophies in legal education.

According to Dr. Biruk, the University has developed a framework curriculum that can address the shortcomings so far observed, and does not require all law schools in the country to operate uniformly; it grants them flexibility.

“We have set the minimum standards to be met by a person who claims to have graduated from an Ethiopian law school and each law school is allowed to add to that by taping in to its competitive advantages and following its institutional priorities,” Dr. Biruk reiterated.

The major improvements brought about by the framework curriculum, Dr Biruk stated, include changes made to graduate profile to capture distinct competencies in legal study; and clear reference in program objective  to rule of law, human rights, democratization, original thinking, indigenous and multiculturalism. He also pointed at changes made in relation student admission policies, course selection, quality assurance, and implementation framework.

Dr. Biruk further elaborated that currently, law libraries do not properly understand peculiarities of legal education and scholarship. In particular, he pointed out that law libraries should be organized separately and law library staff should understand literature and other research data relevant to legal education and research.

Finally, Hon. Amabasador Degife Bula, director General of the federal Justice and Legal Research and Training Institute, in his closing remarks, stressed on the need take advantage of findings of the research team in ongoing LL.B curriculum reform endeavors.

By: Abraham Girmay

Photo: Andualem Aseffa