UNZA Law School Sets the Record Straight: UNZA Graduates Top ZIALE Performance

UNZA School of Law Trophies displayed at Golden Jubilee Commemoration Stand, 2016
UNZA School of Law Trophies displayed at Golden Jubilee Commemoration Stand, 2016
UNZA School of Law Trophies displayed at Golden Jubilee Commemoration Stand, 2016
UNZA School of Law Trophies displayed at Golden Jubilee Commemoration Stand, 2016

On Friday, 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). Due to the grave misinformation circulating on various media platforms about the performance of the University of Zambia (UNZA) School of Law students in those examinations, UNZA is taking this unprecedented step of publicly setting the record straight.

We have conducted a statistical analysis of the released results which are independently verifiable and public facts. Further, this statement itself, is not intended to sensationalize 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.

By the official count, approximately 379 students sat for the final ZIALE LPQ Examinations. The public may wish to know that out of this number (379), approximately only 28% were UNZA degree holders. Out of the 379 students attempting the examination for the first time, only three (3) students cleared all 10 courses. This translates to an overall pass rate of 0.8%. 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 (1) of these three (3) “first-attempt passers” is a UNZA degree holder. 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 (ZCAS, now ZCAS University). Graduates from both streams receive University of Zambia (UNZA) law degrees. Therefore, the widely publicized news that no UNZA degree holder passed the examination is wholly untrue.

The foregoing notwithstanding, what has not been analyzed, is the performance of the remaining 376 students (99.2%) who did not clear all the 10 courses. This analysis will reveal the true picture of the performance of UNZA graduates. What is noteworthy here is that a staggering 92% of all candidates who passed 9 out of the 10 courses examined (that is to say, failed only one course) are UNZA degree holders. 86% of these students were drawn from our main stream and 6% were drawn from our commercial stream. When one statistically controls for UNZA’s modest ratio of the candidates (28 %), the 92% figure mentioned here is far higher.

Further, without a single exception, 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. Needless to say, we intend to analyze what problems the students may have encountered in order to make the necessary interventions that will assist our students perform better when they re-sit the course in December, 2018.

It is a well-known fact that for quite a while now, only a small percentage of students clear the ZIALE LPQ Examinations on their first attempt. Over the last few years, the percentages of candidates who clear the programme on first attempt have ranged from 0.8 % to 5% .What is not of public notoriety is that a far much higher percentage of candidates clear the ZIALE LPQ

Examinations on the subsequent attempt, which typically occurs about two (2) months after the initial results are released. 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%; 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. It should be noted that when evaluating the final number of students sent to the Bar from a particular University, the ratio of candidates contributed to the class under consideration must be factored into the analysis.

While UNZA has always dominated the “first-attempt pass list”, we have never been content with the miniscule number of UNZA students that pass on first attempt. We also wish to note that ever since private universities gained admission to ZIALE in 2010, UNZA has always shared the “first-attempt passers” with other universities. This is therefore not the first time, by any stretch, that a non-UNZA student has passed the ZIALE LPQ Examinations on the first attempt.

In fact, in 2011, which was the very first year that private university students were among the candidates examined, three (3) out of the eight (8) candidates that passed on the first attempt were non-UNZA degree holders. While this is the first time that UNZA has not dominated the “first- time passers” list, it must be noted that this is just by a single candidate.

In view of the foregoing, we reiterate that most of the information that has been circulated in the media and other communication platforms is therefore grossly distorted. We have absolutely no doubt that there are brilliant students in other universities. However, if one is to make global statements about the quality of a law programme, then those statements need to be based on an evaluation of the performance of 100% of the candidates examined and not just a miniscule 0.8%.

For seven (7) years straight (2011-2018), UNZA has recorded the best overall performance at ZIALE. This unrivaled 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 unrivaled. 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.

The Law School’s staff complement consists of eleven (11) PhD holders and four (4) soon-to-be PhD holders. Further, the Law School’s lecturers have been trained at some of the best Universities in the world. Moreover, 90% of these lecturers are called to the Bar in at least one jurisdiction. Collectively, UNZA Law School academic staff possess rich experience drawn from law practice, government, advocacy, as well as regional and international organizations of repute.

We would like to note the critical role that private universities play in the democratization of legal education in the country. Due to the entry of private players, the study of law has been liberalized and access to the profession has dramatically increased. This is something we are proud of and strongly support. Due to the serious challenges we have faced and continue to face, UNZA is unable to meet the growing demand for legal education. In this regard, we view private universities as partners and not as foes.

Incidentally, not less than two (2) of the Law School’s four (4) strategic objectives address the democratization of legal education. First, the School of Law has as an objective – “to join in the building and development of the legal system in Zambia and generally, to make the resources of the School’s staff and students

available for the welfare of the community.” Secondly, the School aims “to be prepared to offer, where these are desirable and required, law teaching resources for other institutions in Zambia”. Indeed, the UNZA School of Law stands ready to collaborate with other Law Schools in the interests of the development of quality legal education and in the development of our legal system as a whole. This notwithstanding, we strongly resist the gross distortion of our performance in the recently held ZIALE LPQ Examinations.

Finally, the UNZA School of Law is 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 globalized world.



    • Uwawa tabula akabepesho! UNZA college trying to justify failure instead of acknowledging fallen standards and seeking corrective actions. Continue gloating over the past while UNILUS moves towards greater heights! Why can’t UNZA college just admit defeat!

    • The problem in Zambia is people want everything for free without working hard for them.

      Not everyone can be elite.

      That is why the phrase “creme de la creme” exists.

    • A university established in 1966 is now competing for prominence with a baby born 41 years later!! Those who have never been to UNILUS, go there and see for yourselves what those guys are doing in terms of educational excellence.

    • it’s good to have this competitive spirit amongst the different Universities in Zambia. Definitely even these other Universities will come up with their own statistics that can be presented or skewed in such a manner as to show how they are also doing well at the LPQ and how despite having a smaller pool of aspiring candidates to the bar they still manage to get some admitted to the bar. However, UNZA is our highest learning institution and as such their better performance should come as no surprise.

    • Come end of the year the Dean of School of Law will be awarded a bonus as no one takes responsibility anymore…everything is decaying right in front of us

    • This is a better explanation. To hear that there are 10 courses to clear really makes sense. There is a lot of social media analysts who are misleading many.

  1. That is the modern challenge we face in the new dispensation of fake news and fake experts. We are in a time where every person with a Dick Head think they can be a expert and make expert pronouncements on issues that they don’t even understand.

    Having read your statement, it is clear that you know what you are talking about and I believe you. But here is a CHARGE I have against you. YOU HAVE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE NEW MEDIUM, no matter how low life it looks to you.

    If you don’t, we shall have Dick Heads spreading falsehoods , and guess what, there is some much gullibility out there to be just let to go to waste and Dick heads will take advantage. You need to join this arena and help shape this new medium littered with Dick Heads

    • @Andy Slicker

      Read this again: “While this is the first time that UNZA has not dominated the “first- time passers” list, it must be noted that this is just by a single candidate.”

    • It is also possible that there was something wrong with that subject. Why should it stand out? Is it the toughest – and how tough is it for almost all students to fail?

    • Has HH visited his former MP in Prison who sacrificed sorry who killed an innocent guard/worker? Have they found the person who sacrificed, sorry who killed HH’s bodyguard yet too?

  2. The Truth remains!
    Too many Lawyers and no Justice in the land!
    Too many doctors and no health in the land!
    Too much head knowledge but no common sense!
    Such is the way of a people without moral values and national cultural identity!
    The argument of who is better between UNILUS and UNZA is irrelevant if our education does not translate into Socioeconomic development for the nation! Substandard infrastructure development driven by huge debt we cannot afford is a waste of time! Unfortunately, it’s the end of the road for Zed with both UNILUS and UNZA reduced to College Status, and Zambia in Junk status credit rating!

    • Corruption scandals: Social Security Cash Luxury Presidential Jet Ambulances Fire Trucks Mukula Trees Ndola-Lusaka Rd Malawi Maizegate Fuelgate Swaziland landgate Zesco Loans

      Mate, I couldn’t have put it any better!

      The quality of our graduates in Zambia is worrying if they can’t make any meaningful contribution to the development of the country. We have so many ‘educated’ people with PhDs but they are just full of theories, just knowing 1 + 1 = 2, without actually converting those into tangible things that bring about positive changes to their people’s lives.

      Where I live, university only taught me how to think logically and analytically and the workplace is where I learned about real life knowledge. Here degrees count for nothing and demonstrated work experience is what they value ( emphasis: ‘demonstrated’ or ‘proven’). If you want PhD or 20 degrees, the only place you will be valued is in the academic, doing research. In…

    • Corruption scandals: Social Security Cash Luxury Presidential Jet Ambulances Fire Trucks Mukula Trees Ndola-Lusaka Rd Malawi Maizegate Fuelgate Swaziland landgate Zesco Loans

      …In fact if you have degrees without any local proven work experience, they won’t employ you. And that’s exactly what we are missing in Zambia.

  3. ZIALE needs to produce both quantitative and qualitative statements on their results instead of alarmist statements. The statistics presented here show a very different picture. A wrong impression was created that Private Universities are doing better than UNZA, at least in the Law field – which is far from the truth.

  4. Despite the clarification 0.8% still remains a terribly low pass rate compared to legal institutes anywhere in the world. These examinations are tougher than Kryptonite. It’s seems to me as if someone is taking advantage of the fact that the majority of students cannot afford to get their LPQ elsewhere so they’re faced with a do or die situation.

  5. Good clarification. I am intrigued by the common subject failed. What subject is it? Could it be this wrong idea that when one is studying a certain discipline other supportive subjects must be neglected? Pedagogy is not amiss on some of the teaching and learning challenges, especially when learners decide they will “boycott” mutually or when teachers decide they will “cruise to the finish line” with respective cynicism. Thanks for clarifying your standing UNZA. Good luck to the second attempt takers.

  6. I wonder what the fuss is all about!

    This institution should be commended for upholding educational standards. No leakages! Especially now that our educational system is in disarray.

  7. Comment: statistical analysis is a better way to go. this clarification should also send a clear picture to our partners in the liberalized education sector, who always want to uplift their statuses by underscoring the potentiality of UNZA. ……. to be continued.

  8. The ZIALE dismal performance will not disappear, even if UNZA opens 24 hours a day (using e-learning). Before it disappears, it will cause many innocent and unsuspecting casualties to the stakeholders, including UNZA itself. The way forward? It is necessary to create a Task Force or crisis Group or a Working Group or a Committee of Experts to study the problem meticulously in detail. In terms of educational theories, the test that nobody passed was defective. Similarly, the test that everyone passed with 100% was defective. It is all about margin of error, validity, deviation. Failure serves no purpose if there is no remedial work to prevent systematic failure.

    • “What is noteworthy here is that a staggering 92% of all candidates who passed 9 out of the 10 courses examined (that is to say, failed only one course) are UNZA degree holders”. Would be good to know the actual numbers so that we can understand the performance better.

  9. Corruption scandals: Social Security Cash Luxury Presidential Jet Ambulances Fire Trucks Mukula Trees Ndola-Lusaka Rd Malawi Maizegate Fuelgate Swaziland landgate Zesco Loans

    OK first of all 0.8% Pass rate is alarming and something is definitely wrong somewhere. Are the students ill prepared at undergraduate or is that examination a step too high for them they need a bridging course in between? It’s almost like they are attempting an exam without learning and studying for it. I mean we are talking about theories/qualitative arguments here which are usually subject to interpretation and are not hard science facts, so how do you produce 0.8%. How could law be more difficult than medicine or engineering?

    If they are just deliberately trying to reduce numbers, then they either have to let them spend more years at undergraduate; come up with a bridging course; reduce the intake at undergraduate level or introduce a demonstrated experience by allowing graduates…

    • Corruption scandals: Social Security Cash Luxury Presidential Jet Ambulances Fire Trucks Mukula Trees Ndola-Lusaka Rd Malawi Maizegate Fuelgate Swaziland landgate Zesco Loans

      .. or introduce a demonstrated experience by allowing graduates to practice under supervision doing assistance clerk wirk before admitting them to the bar as qualified lawyers (I think the last is how it’s done around the advanced world).

      As for the UNZA analysis, the first 3/4 of the article was mainly yapping with inarticulate arguments all over the shop. A UNZA statement needs to be written eloquently and articulately. This lacked some coherence to it.

  10. Justification with back door information changes nothing on announced results. Still nothing has changed. Why do you even justify such embarrassing results surely

  11. UNZA school of medicine, the University Teaching Hospital ( UTH)has just successfully conducted a Kidney transplant.
    Both donor and receiver are doing fine. What more can you ask for? UNZA is in a different league. We set the standards for local universities.

  12. For all Unza students not to clear one particular subject it means whoever was in charge of teaching them that particular subject didn’t do his job and therefore his position must be revisited before Oxford degrades you further from college to secondary school level.

  13. I suspect most bloggers here engaging in UNZA-bashing are from private universities who haven’t even bothered to read a very well-analyzed and clearly articulated statement from UNZA management. One very prominent human resource professional I personally know, who has served on many interviewing panels for jobs and in job placement in both the private and public sectors for more than than 30 years, recently told me that graduates from UNZA and CBU perform far much better than those from the private universities and are thus preferred by most companies in the labour market.

  14. Correct me pls. Is Law now more difficult than say physics,mathematics,engineering etc?? Back time, Law School never attracted big brainers

  15. Oxford University is just one of the many universities around. It is not their duty to upgrade or downgrade a fellow university.
    We can’t downgrade them to a primary school either.
    UNZA is a great University. We set standards. Other Universities measure themselves by trying to beat unza.

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