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Title: Curriculum Development and Teaching Methods in Law Schools in Ethiopia : Problems and Proposals
Authors: Assefa, Getachew
Keywords: Curriculum Development,Teaching Methods,Law Schools,Ethiopia
Issue Date: Aug-2006
Abstract: Formal legal education in a law school began in Ethiopia in the 1950s at the Law Faculty of Haile-Selassie I (now Addis Ababa) University. This Faculty remained the only national law school for more than thirty years until 1990s, when it was joined by other - private and public - law schools around the country. Some of the main challenges of the Addis Ababa University Law Faculty (AAULF) have been keeping itself up to date, effective and relevant in terms of curriculum development and methods of instruction. Traditionally curriculum, seldom change at the AAULF and so they often fail to be flexible enough to accommodate changes in the country and in the society. The reasons for such problems is the modus operandi of the AAU and AAULF. Perhaps more disheartening is the fact that the curriculum of the AAULF has been dominated by too many compulsory courses with almost no room for areas of concentration. It also has been devoid of skill-based courses, though some improvements have been notable in the curriculum now in force. As it will be argued in the paper, even when there are skills courses, the method of teaching has always been unsatisfactory. It will be argued in this paper that these defects in the curriculum of the AAULF have been transplanted to newly emerging public and private law schools around the country. The problem with the instructional method is equally disheartening at law schools. The method of teaching has been totally dominated by a lecture system, which gives very little space for students to be in the driver's seat in the teaching learning process. The involvement of students in the teaching learning process is totally haphazard and is dependent on the decision and/or ability of the instructor concerned. This paper argues that the law schools should seriously consider developing more effective ways of training their law students, by incorporating methods of learning by doing and making sure that law professors follow the instructional requirements of courses. It will also make suggestions based on learning by doing that have borne fruit in law schools elsewhere in the world.
Appears in Collections:Proceedings of the 4th National Conference on Private Higher Education Institutions (PHEIs) in Ethiopia

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