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September 14, 2003 

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Department of Law, DU

Change of curriculum is a must to achieve international standard

Dhaka University has started its journey with the department of law among others in 1921. In the course of time it has become a faculty. Three years (honours) course was introduced in the sessions of 1972-73. It extended up to four years from 1977-78 sessions. Though nearly 25 years has been passed the curriculum, lecture methods, course modules are still remaining ancient. More over political rivalry has hugged the department like other of the university. Hence, students of different class have come up with their various problems and suggestions to Anisur Rahman of Law Desk.

There is lack of accountability

Tanim Hussain Shawon LL.M

After being completed the LL.M from Dhaka University I felt that more comprehensive and multidimensional approach should be adopted. The LL.B programme of our department is mainly focused on building lawyers. LL.M programme is totally different from it. Some serious reformation is necessary in LL.B programme. New, modern subjects, like International Trade and Business Law, new development of intellectual property law have to be introduced.
We were given hard labour for a month to prepare the research monograph for LL.M degree. The research monograph is limited by time and it mainly depends on secondary sources. Students are not given enough time to go different stockholder for information. So due to lack of authentic and innovative information it becomes the extended form of an essay. It is not possible to prepare a standard research paper within the time. Students need at least six months time to prepare it.
In regard to our teachers I can say that though they are competent most of them come to class without having sufficient preparation which they should have. The whole atmosphere of the university is centered not in the education rather on the teacher's politics. Most of the teachers have indulged in teacher's politics rather than study. In recent time they also concentrate more on the private universities. Therefore they do not have enough time to concentrate their very duties. Though they are competent they do not deliver it up to our satisfaction.
The department has very poor record of publishing journal. It does have a journal but there is a backlog of more than three years. The journal published solely by the teachers and students are hardly informed about it. It is not sold in the seminar even publication of journal is not noticed in the notice board. So it is an isolated part of the department. There is a lack of obligation, lack of accountability towards the students.
Department of law is less productive because it hardly introduce the modern development of different subjects. It failed to motivate the students to be social engineer. The teachers should play the leading role in this regard.

There is an unhealthy competition

Mehar Nigar Suchona
LL.B, 2nd year.

I feel proud studying law. We are lucky enough that our class is taking place regularly comparing to other departments. But one thing is that except some exceptional teachers, our teachers follow the traditional way of teaching, which makes learning law boring. Some teachers are made bound to lecture on a subject without his/her will that is embarrassing for both the students and teachers. Case law is always neglected here. Course system should be restructured. Jurisprudence, Law of Contract may be taught in the 2nd or 3rd year.
There are some problems in the department. We had observed direct political rivalry in the department, which frustrates us to some extent. Our seminar does not have sufficient books, journals and in some cases there is only one copy of particular book. This insufficiency hinders studies a great extent. Number of librarian in the seminar should be increased. There is a serious accommodation problem in the class room. Some times we attend the class standing.
The department should initiate seminar or open discussion on different legal issues. It can organise debate on different legal issues, which will make harmonious relationship between students of different classes. Cultural programmes are always neglected here which makes department boring. We are just going to be lawyer in the narrow sense.
Friendly relationship between students and teachers is absent here. There is an unhealthy competition among the students. All of we should give this habit up.

Result should be published within
one month

Mahfuza Liza
LL.B, 4th year.

I think there are series of problems in our course order or arrangement. As for example, jurisprudence is a tough subject, it is not fit for a first year student, and it should be taught in third year. On the other hand, easy subjects like Roman law, Equity and Trust should be taught in first year. Both CrPC and Penal Code are difficult subjects, each carrying 50 marks, are taught as one course in third year. These two papers need to be separated each allocating 100 marks. Again separating 'Govt. and Politics form Constitution, I think, unnecessary, as contents of both the papers are almost same. Moreover, inclusion of Court Fees Act, Suit Valuation Act, Civil Rules and Orders in our course structure is necessary.
Teaching method is not sufficient. Here the procedural laws are taught by the teachers who are or were never practising lawyers. Practical experience of teacher is invaluable. So if the procedural laws are taught by the practising lawyers, certainly it will bring understandable change. Another terrible thing in the department is that there is immense communication gap between students and teachers. The teachers always follow and continue their own style of teaching. They never feel to testify whether their teaching styles are student-friendly or not.
Another thing that I like to mention here that no tutorial class is taken in our department. It has become a tradition that every year we speak of tutorial class; give it place in class routine in the notice board; but it did not taken place. But tutorial class is undeniable to improve the quality of backward students and develop student teachers relations.
Finally the thing I must mention here is that our department takes long time, even a year, to publish the results of each year, which is unreasonable. It creates problems to the students who are to face improvement test.

Teacher's performance should be
evaluated by students

Moazzem Hossain Tareq
LL.B, 3rd year.

I think the environment of study in the department is satisfactory. As a matter of fact in Bangladeshi we cannot expect better environment than the prevailing one.
To my mind, the course order should be rearranged. The syllabus should be made update. Such for example, it is unnecessary to teach Roman law as a separate paper; it may be included in legal history. In the name of land law what we were taught the history of land law. But there are various practical problems relating to our land; everyday a good number of suits relating to land dispute are being disposed of in courts which is ignored here. Jurisprudence and Legal History should be taught in first year.
Procedural laws should be taught by the practising lawyers. They are in the right position to make the students understood the laws nicely as they have fresh experience. Actually what we are learning here is more theoretical than practical. We still study the cases of 1860, 1875 or 1900. But there are available case references relating to our Penal Code, CrPC etc. Teachers should take classes in more practical way following the case law.
Here the student teacher relation is very poor. It is really frustrating. There should be friendly relation between students and teachers. There should be exchange of feelings, sharing of thoughts among them. Taking tutorial class is a nice avenue to develop student teacher relations.
Another disgusting thing in the department is the dillydallying in publishing result. Taking so much time, at least 9 months, without any ground is very sorrowful. This deliberate delay not only wastes student's valuable times but also deprives them of various good opportunities to obtain jobs.
Finally I want to say that there should be reciprocal accountability of students and teachers. There should be measure to evaluate teacher's performance by students. And obviously the result should be published speedily.

We are engaged in private universities at the cost of our own students

Dr. Mizanur Rahman
Professor & former Chairman

Law Desk: Students said that teaching method of the department is very traditional and the teachers are focused only few students of the class. What is your comment?

M. Rahman: We can not and must not shy on to disclose the problem. I must say that most of students deprived of teacher's attention. Reasons behind the problem are firstly that teachers themselves are not well trained; they do not have sufficient skills of communication. Teachers should be trained before allowed to lecture in the class. Here one is appointed as a teacher who completed his education just now. But in abroad he or she has to work as a junior teacher and after acquiring sufficient skill in teaching they are allowed to lecture in the class. We have big classroom with almost 120 students. Obviously a teacher is unable to communicate every student of the class. They are only depending on delivering lecture. Since teachers are engaged in delivering lectures they usually depend on the class notes which he or she prepared during student life without refreshing it with recent development.
Secondly, we do not have the modern equipment. Audio visual scene is not available here. We do not have the opportunity to use projector in the class. So we only depend on the traditional method of delivering lecture and failed to attract students' attention. This is I can say an anti-learning process.

Law desk: According to students there is a huge communication gap between students and teachers and students don't have any participatory role.

M. Rahman: This problem lies on the whole university. We may talk about the DUCSU. Obviously students' participation in DUCSU is out of question now. The participatory students are belonging to different political parties. This is reflected in the department of law. We don't have any students' participation whether it is good or bad. There is a huge communication gap between students and teachers. The problem is, firstly, the teachers- student's ratio. We have only 35 teachers against the six or seven hundred students. It is not possible to make a friendly relationship with all the students in this situation. Teachers and students must follow certain standard, which demand that every member of the community should behave rationally and reasonably. But this is absent among most of the members of the community of law department. This hinders development of proactive teachers-students relationship.

Law desk: The department of law does not publish journal regularly, teachers also don't have regular publication.

M.Rahman: In the western universities especially in the USA there are journals of law which are edited by students containing articles written by any member of the faculty. Bur this is absolutely absent in our department. We have a journal (Dhaka University Studies, part- F) which is known as law journal. But the peculiarity is that this journal is "closed" journal. Articles are written only by the teachers of the department. We failed to publish it for the last three years. The reason may be firstly that we did not have sufficient articles. But why? Secondly there is an editorial board which decides the articles to be published. But it is a matter of fact that the editor himself decides it which violates the very purpose of the editorial board. As Dean of the faculty is the editor of the journal and since he is busy in many different works it is quite hard for him to concentrate publishing journal regularly.
I don't see any reason not to publish articles of students, which is worthy of published.

Law desk: Most of students alleged that the teachers are indulged in politics rather than studies and they also engaged in Private Universities.

M.Rahman: I usually ask my students to see whether a particular teacher is operating his course duly, regularly. Whether he teaches the course or simply gossiping, whether the teacher is available for the students. It is not matter that a teacher has particular political ideology. It is necessary that whether the teacher is capable and knowledgeable to conduct a course, whether he is given sufficient time to solve the queries of students. It is not a problem if they conduct their duties entrusted to them.
It is unfortunate that almost all our teachers are busy in taking class in the private universities depriving the students of the department. There is no tradition to take tutorial class, which is essential for the students. We are engaged in the private universities or firm at the cost of our own students. We do not expend a little bit of our time for our students. The teachers are allowed to do some work out side but the interest of the students should not wave aside.

We are going to remodel the whole syllabus

Dr. Taslima Monsoor
Associate Professor & Dean.

Law desk: Most of the students have suggested that new courses should be introduced in the department. Have you any plan in this regard?

T.Monsoor: Yes. The world has changed. We must work to go with the changing world. We are going to remodeling the whole syllabus keeping in mind the changing world. We are going to introduce semester system. Six months will be a semester. In six months five subjects will be taught and we will taught at least 40 subjects in LL.B programme. Some subjects will be taught in two semesters. Such as the Muslim Law, Business Law which will cover all sorts of law relating to the business, International Law etc. We are going to introduce medical jurisprudence. So some new courses will be introduced ultimately.

Law desk: Students have suggested that procedural law should be taught by the practising lawyer.

T.Monsoor: I don't think so. Our teachers are competent enough to teach every sorts of law. We have law clinic. So practicing lawyers are not essential. What is essential is that you must know the law and how it is practiced. If anything left the student can learn it from the law clinic because the practicing lawyers and the resource persons teach in the law clinic. In law clinic we have taught the procedural laws, legal training and advocacy skill and how to conduct legal research. It is not our aim to produce lawyers in the narrow sense but our aim is to produce the legal researcher. We also teach drafting of the case. So every thing is covered in the law clinic. So I don't think that only the practitioner should teach the procedural laws.

Law desk: Students of LL.M have alleged that they are given a poor time to prepare research monograph.

T.Monsoor: I agree that the time is very poor. The problem is that implementation of law is not here. Research monograph is supposed to give few months before the final exam. It is peculiar that students do not demand it officially. You must come to change the practice. As there is no demand from the students the practice is continue.

Law desk: students expressed their disappointment that the journal is not published regularly and the department did not take any initiative to organise seminar on different issues.

T. Monsoor: The journal is not published from 1998. I am the editor of the Dhaka University Studies (part F) 2003. I request our teachers to write articles and I thing we will be able to published it within short time. I promise for development of all sectors of the department because it is just like our child.

Law desk: Students alleged that the result is published after a long time from their final examination.

T. Monsoor: The procedures of prepare result is very rigid. First of all the first examiner examines the answer sheet, then the second examiner does it and after all the result come to our hand then we go for the tabulation. So we can not go for tabulation as long as all the results of the first examiner, the second examiner and if required the third examiner do not come to our hand. The tabulators do not give so much time to prepare the result. We don't have other way before get the result from the examiners. But one thing I must say that we must changed our attitude.




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