Thursday, September 25, 2014
By Bakampa Brian Baryaguma
On Monday, 29 September, 2014, the latest batch of entrants to the Law Development Centre (LDC) will begin their Bar course studies, for the 2014/2015 academic year. LDC admitted a total of 661 students this academic year. This is the highest number of admitted students ever, in LDC history. On my own behalf and indeed, on behalf of my team that is pursuing the ‘Complaint Concerning Under-Performance of Law Development Centre,’ currently before the Parliament of Uganda, I wish them all the best in their studies. The aforesaid complaint is available online at http://www.bbbakampa.blogspot.com/2014/05/complaint-concerning-under-performance_10.html.
Of the 661 students who were admitted, 552 of them were candidates for this year’s LDC pre-entry exam organized by the Committee on Legal Education and Training of the Law Council, which a total of 1300 lawyers sat for. This means that 748 lawyers failed this year’s exam, whose pass mark is said to be 50%. The other 109 students are those who had previously sat and passed the pre-entry examination in 2011, 2012 and 2013, but had nevertheless failed the Bar course and couldn’t graduate from LDC. Many of them had re-sat the subsequent pre-entry exam and failed it again.
Today, I write in reference to my earlier publication entitled, ‘Beware of the Deception and Fraud Underlying the LDC Pre-Entry Exam,’ published on this blog (visit http://bbbakampa.blogspot.com/2014/08/beware-of-deception-and-fraud.html) and substantially reproduced in the Saturday Vision newspaper of August 9, 2014, at page 9, under the heading, ‘Pre-entry exam at LDC is a trick to control numbers due to lack of space.’ We are very grateful to Saturday Vision.
In that publication, I said that the pre-entry exam is deceptive and fraudulent. That it is deceptive because, it is continuously imposed for the mischievous purpose of ‘eliminating stampeding and congestion at LDC, by keeping away as many applicants as possible,’ under the false declaration that students failed the exam, yet the truth is that LDC simply doesn’t have enough space to accommodate all those eligible to join it. I also stated that the exam is fraudulent because exorbitant fees are charged for it (Uganda shillings one hundred thousand only – Ugx 100,000/- – per candidate), ‘... yet its administrators know very well that for an overwhelming majority of the [candidates], it is an automatic dead-end – they will not be admitted to LDC!’ I said then and maintain now, that this exam is extortionist. If anybody thought that I was wrong or deceiving, then in this year’s Bar course admission numbers lies your indisputable answer.
It is for these and other reasons in the complaint that my colleagues and I strongly argue that LDC is a terrible, cruel, oppressive and tyrannical monster, which mercilessly devours lawyers in Uganda and should therefore, be tamed and prevailed upon by Ugandans, by at least breaking the monopoly over the Bar course that it currently enjoys. Dear reader, just ask yourself these simple questions: what next for those 748 lawyers who allegedly failed the pre-entry exam, after about 20 years of dedicated study and hard work? Is it really that they are dull and didn’t understand the law as claimed by LDC? Or is it a problem of all our universities from where these students come? In the unlikely event that it is, how does Government of Uganda explain their licences and continued operation? How do LDC and the Law Council account for the Uganda shillings seventy four million, eight hundred thousand only (Ugx 74,800,000/-) they paid in applications to join the Centre and sit the pre-entry exam? What about their parents, guardians, other relatives and friends, all of whom had a lot of trust and hope in them, on account of which they invested so much? What about their communities and country as a whole that looked forward to benefiting from their skills and expertise for development purposes?
We contend that the Bar course can and should be taught by the universities from where those negatively affected lawyers came. That will go a long way to save on theirs and other concerned people’s energy and resources especially, in terms of time and money. Moreover, in my previous publication, I informed the nation that passing the pre-entry exam is not a guarantee to legal practice. More than half of those who are admitted to the Bar course do not graduate!
Dear reader, if you genuinely ask yourself the above and any other related questions and honestly answer them; and then consider the practical realities underlying LDC’s incurably defective system, you will definitely find merit in what we are saying. On the face of it, LDC may appear to have increased space and admitted more students, but the statistics indicate that the demand to study the Bar course is far increasing ahead of LDC’s capacity to accommodate the annual applicants. We shouldn’t therefore, be duped into believing that all is well or that things are getting better.
It is possible to defeat this inhuman system and the cabal that is busy profiting from it. That is why for instance, following my publication exposing the deceit and fraud presided over by LDC and the Law Council through their joint exam, they were so embarrassed that in order to save face, they decided to exempt the 109 former LDC students from re-sitting the pre-entry exam, even after most of them had already paid the application fees. Interesting! Isn’t it? For this, may God be praised and thanked; for He has given us enormous power to shake and move things, making them happen the way they should be. So, please, make your due contribution. Here is the secret to success: start where you are; use what you have; and do your best. Then God and others will do the rest.
Saturday, August 23, 2014
By Prof. Edward JB Kakonge
To understand the necessary skills of GOOD LEADERSHIP, you need to study, understand and practice GOOD THINKING. You should NURTURE GREAT THOUGHTS, because you will NEVER GO HIGHER than your THOUGHT.
‘Brethren, whatsoever things are TRUE, whatsoever things are HONEST, whatsoever things are JUST, whatsoever things are PURE, whatsoever things are LOVELY, whatsoever things are of GOOD REPORT, if there be any VIRTUE and if there be any PRAISE, THINK ON THESE THINGS,’ Philippians 4:8.
Things which are TRUE, JUST, PURE, LOVELY of GOOD REPORT, VIRTUOUS, PRAISE WORTHY, think of them. How does one come across and assess these kinds of things? Through GOOD CRITICAL THINKING.
We live in a world where people want to teach you “WHAT TO THINK” instead of “HOW TO THINK” this is the BIGGEST FAILURE OF OUR EDUCATION SYSTEM, where the emphasis is on WHAT TO THINK, rather than on ANALYTICAL SKILLS OF CRITICAL THINKING. There is an error in assuming that what is taught corresponds to WHAT IS LEARNED. Knowledge has value only in the heads of those who have ABILITY TO THINK WELL. Students must learn to think HOW TO THINK WELL, in order to achieve their DREAMS and reach their POTENTIAL. Dreams must be distinguished from goals; dreams are expansive while goals are limited.
GREAT THINKING PRODUCES GREAT PROGRESS.
The QUALITY of people’s thinking leads to the QUALITY of their results. Any achievement in any sphere results from THE HABIT OF GOOD THINKING. Becoming a good thinker means developing thinking skills to the BEST OF YOUR ABILITY. If you are going to be a person who can make a difference to yourself, your family, your nation and humanity, you need these thinking skills;
(i) SEEING THE WISDOM OF BIG-PICTURE THINKING.
(ii) UNLEASHING THE POTENTIAL OF FOCUSED THINKING.
(iii) DISCOVERING THE JOY OF CREATIVE THINKING.
(iv) RECOGNIZING THE IMPORTANCE OF REALISTIC THINKING.
(v) RELEASING THE POWER OF STRATEGIC THINKING.
(vi) FEELING THE ENERGY OF POSSIBILITY THINKING.
(vii) EMBRACING THE LESSON OF REFLECTIVE THINKING.
(viii) QUESTIONING THE ACCEPTANCE OF POPULAR THINKING.
(ix) ENCOURAGE THE PARTICIPATION OF SHARED THINKING.
(x) EXPERIENCING THE SATISFACTION OF UNSELFISH THINKING.
(xi) ENJOYING THE RETURN OF BOTTOM-LINE THINKING.
An invasion of ARMIES can be resisted, but NOT AN INVASION OF IDEAS! Those who crucified JESUS, PETER or PAUL, indulged in a futile exercise! Many people want to change the world for the better, but few of these think of changing themselves! Many of those who want to change the world often have NO GREAT IDEA to give the world!
Thinking is hard; that is why so few people do it. But a human mind with the ability to think well is a priceless GOLD MINE THAT NEVER runs out! Changing your thinking is not automatic; you should work hard on the processes of changing your thinking for the better. If you want a good idea, you must search for it. Changed thinking is difficult because it would demand your time and your energy, but once you get on the track of becoming a better thinker, in due course it becomes a habit; you put in every effort to become a BETTER THINKER. Learning to THINK BETTER IS A GREAT INVESTMENT IN YOURSELF. You represent THE GIFT OF UNLIMITED POTENTIAL. Changing your thinking will CHANGE MANY OF YOUR BELIEFS FOR THE BETTER. A BELIEF is not an idea that you posses; IT IS AN IDEA THAT POSSESSES YOU. Changing your beliefs about yourself or other human beings will change your (a) EXPECTATIONS; (b) ATTITUDES; (c) BEHAVIOURS; and (d) PERFORMANCE. When the entire above are changed for the better, your performance will change your life. In these changes you will LEARN HOW TO BE YOURSELF; HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR OWN STYLE; TO LIVE AT A HIGHER LEVEL; YOU WILL HAVE CLEAR AND INSPIRED THINKING; YOU WILL BECOME AN AUTHENTIC HUMAN BEING. MANY PEOPLE IN THE WORLD ARE SLAVES TO BOGUS IMAGES, struggling to impress NON-ENTITIES.
GOOD THINKERS are always on demand. They rarely find themselves at the mercy of ruthless people who would take advantage of them. Because of good thinking, they rule/manage themselves well. These people usually feel more inclined to add value to others through creative ideas. Like every human being, every good thought has the potential to become something great. These people THINK LIKE A MAN OF ACTION, AND ACT LIKE A HUMAN BEING OF THOUGHTS, because they generate productive thoughts. They take THINKING AS A DISCIPLINE AND ACT ON THEIR GOOD THOUGHTS. They BURN BRIGHTLY, WITHOUT BURNING OUT.
By Lukyamuzi Joseph
(Humanist Association for Leadership, Equity and Accountability)
Thinking is the process of using one’s brain or mind to consider or reason on an issue or subject.
Globalisation is an on going process of international integration arising from interchange of world views, cultures, products and shared values and interests (New World Order).
Types of Thinking:
Critical thinking: A type of thinking in which doubts are always reserved for what is thought to be true. It involves thinking about the possible out comes of any course of action taken.
Innovative thinking: This is a type of thinking where new ideas are generated and developed so that they can create new opportunities and appropriate solutions to existing problems.
Brainstorming: Is a type of thinking based on group discussions. In this case decision making is based on deliberations and the thoughts of various discussion group members.
Reframing: Is a type of thinking in which we learn new truths and unlearn old falsehoods due to the latest information available before us. It also may involve redrawing our perceptions about personalities, situations and entities.
Insight: This is a type of thinking in which someone develops an idea out of the blue in an instant. Some also describe it as a Eureka moment. It may at many times be the result of meditation. Someone at once envisions an idea that turns out to be workable and appropriate.
Black and white thinking: In this type of thinking, one assumes that something is either or as if it can’t have a third or fourth angle to it. It has no consideration for middle lines. For instance, something can either be right or wrong and as such can’t be both right and wrong. This kind of reasoning polarizes society so much.
Intuitive thinking: This is a type of thinking in which there is no consideration for supporting evidence. Someone assumes something to be true and so takes it be so. This type of thinking is the basis for many pseudo visionaries. However intuitive thought can also be innovative if well incubated and developed and is at times taken as a field of philosophy.
Linear thinking: This is a type of thinking in which matters are only viewed from one angle of view. Some also call it sequence thinking where by one takes it that thinking should take a well defined pattern of procedure.
Open minded thinking: This is a type of thinking which allows one to be receptive to new ideas and dimensions of thought. Being open minded means one hasn’t closed one’s brain to new ways of thought. This though doesn’t mean buying every line of thought that crops up.
Humanist thought: This is a type of thought in which people engage in thinking while not tied by traditional, cultural or religious beliefs. This is meant to make people think freely so that their mind isn’t prejudiced by factors that border on dogmatism.
Critical Thinking Skills:
*Analysis; This means piecing up together different pieces of information and deducing what they lead to or imply. It could also mean discovering hidden intentions or unseen matters that require attention.
*Interpretation; This is getting the meaning out of something. It requires understanding something and then explaining your view about it to others or to yourself.
*Evaluation; This is about being able to assess the validity and flaws in statements or occurrences. It helps to separate the credible from the un-credible.
Benefits of Globalisation:
- Research made easy due to information being only a click away.
- Comparison in performance and standing. Knowing your standing and what others think of you is very vital for progress.
- E-commerce and its easing of trade bottlenecks.
- Communication made easy through cultural globalization such as languages.
- Increased competition helps companies and firms to up their game.
Analysis on Critical Thinking vis-a-vis Tapping into Globalization Benefits for Africa
Critical thinking would enable us realize that some of the things we know, might not really be so. That would lead to the search for proving the truths in what we take to be true and falsehoods in what we perceive to be wrong. For instance the notion that defense and security departments should always take the lions’ share of countries’ budgets; or the notion that our traditional medication systems are inferior to foreign ones.
Critical thinking would also help us re-define the relationships we have with major political and financial world powers. Should we take it that China loves us so much that it should set out to build for us roads, bridges and all other sorts of infrastructure?
Critical thinking should enable us put emotions aside and ask ourselves why some whites continue referring to us as apes and primates. Is it because we look so or behave so? Should we continue showing we are hurt by such remarks or whether we shouldn’t and should just let such remarks pass? Are we Africans ourselves not racist and biased?
Brainstorming, if given its due respect, would ensure democratic governance unlike the present systems where countries’ leaders take decisions solely based on their own warped view of the situations at hand. For instance, are our country’s security concerns as what the authorities tell us and the resources poured in there? Are discussions like the one here by Pan Africans at Seascallop, talk shows on radio and TV and other public forums binding or reflected in decision making in the country’s running?
Humanist thought allows people to live their lives to the full. Many people are sometimes born talented but are bogged down by cultural and religious beliefs. You can’t sing a certain kind of music, can’t play a certain game, and can’t write a certain type of literature due to your beliefs.
* All things in this world begin as thoughts or ideas.
* No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking. ~ Voltaire.
* Belief is when someone else does the thinking. ~ Buckminster Fuller, 1972.
* The world we have created is a product of our thinking; it cannot be changed without changing our thinking. ~ Albert Einstein.
Thursday, August 7, 2014
By Bakampa Brian Baryaguma
On Tuesday, 12 August, 2014, over 1000 lawyers will sit for the pre-entry examination. It is a requirement for admission to undergo postgraduate legal education and training (technically known as the Bar course in the legal profession) at the Law Development Centre (LDC). Attaining the Bar course qualifies one to become an advocate, fully entitled to practice law in Uganda. The exam is administered by the Law Council, in conjunction with LDC, both of which argue that it is meant to sieve and lock out students who did not appreciate basic principles of the law at undergraduate level. This is the official reason peddled around to justify the imposition of the exam, which has negatively affected about 5000 lawyers by denying them access to the Centre, since its imposition in 2010.
Ugandans ought to know however, that this reason is utterly false. The truth is that the pre-entry exam was introduced to eliminate stampeding and congestion at LDC, by keeping away as many applicants as possible. LDC is the only institution in Uganda that is mandated to train advocates. Every year, law graduands from all the universities in Uganda and elsewhere apply to join it, but because of space constraints at the Centre, not all of them can be admitted. The exam is therefore, a convenient control mechanism, which enables LDC to get the number of students it can accommodate at a time – about 400. Thereafter, the nation is misinformed that the rest were not admitted because they failed the exam. Failure is given as an excuse because it is easier to sell and understandable than space constraint. This deception underlies this exam. Citizens ought to be aware of it and act appropriately.
But there is a lot more to know: as if this is not bad and ugly enough, the exam is also financially fraudulent and utterly extortionist. Students are charged a lot of money before sitting for the exam, yet its administrators know very well that for an overwhelming majority of them, it is an automatic dead-end – they will not be admitted to LDC! Consider this year. First, each student must apply to be admitted to LDC and pay Uganda shillings fifty thousand only (Ugx 50,000/-); and second, the student must pay for the pre-entry exam, an amount of Uganda shillings fifty thousand only (Ugx 50,000/-). In total, each student pays Uganda shillings one hundred thousand only (Ugx 100,000/-). All in all, students spend at least Uganda shillings one hundred million only (Ugx 100,000,000/-), clamouring to join LDC. Now, if only 400 students are admitted, that means that just Uganda shillings forty million only (Ugx 40,000,000/-) will have been properly utilized; the remaining balance of Uganda shillings sixty million only (Ugx 60,000,000/-) will go to waste, eaten easily and freely by the cabal at the helm of Uganda’s legal education system. This is the most officially sanctioned, organized, disguised and sophisticated financial impropriety syndicate ever seen. It is akin to polished highway robbery.
Moreover, passing the pre-entry exam is not a guaranteed passage to the promised land of legal practice. LDC entrants have a further hurdle of manoeuvring through the Centre’s incurably defective system that was designed to fail students. More than half of those who are admitted to the Bar course do not graduate! Their noble dreams and aspirations to practice their profession and make a living out of it, after several years of sacrifice (at least 20) are permanently buried in LDC’s infamous academic limbo. What is the reason? The same old scapegoat: students did not properly understand the law at undergraduate, according to LDC administrators.
One finds therefore, that Uganda’s current postgraduate legal education and training system is deliberately designed to keep out as many prospective law practitioners as possible, by passing too few, while failing far too many of them. We should break this monopoly sustainably, by devolving the Bar course training to universities operating law faculties in Uganda. We lodged a complaint to Parliament (available online here: http://www.bbbakampa.blogspot.com/2014/05/complaint-concerning-under-performance_10.html) analyzing most of these matters. There has been some progress, but ever since its motion was put on the Order Paper on Wednesday, 25 June, 2014, it stalled. I appeal to the House to address itself to this matter urgently and establish a Select Committee to investigate it, as proposed in the motion.