Witsies breathe easy now

BA Witsies Breathe Easy Now

Melissa Douman

Some BA students, with law as one of their majors, were outraged by the new changes made to the law curriculum.

The old curriculum maintained that four, full-year, law courses needed to be completed in the final year of their BA. As opposed to doing Delict, Contract, Succession and Criminal law in the final year of their BA, the new rules stipulate that these students now only have to do two – Contract and Criminal Law.

This means that Delict and Succession move to the LLB curriculum. So when BA students graduate and complete the last two years of their LLB, they would have to do these two subjects in their third year of their LLB.

This sparked outrage with students currently affected as they felt that they would have too heavy a load going into third year law.

The students also felt that they would be at a disadvantage in getting into the two year law program as they would not have done the two subjects that BCom students and LLB students would have already done.

They felt that in terms of their knowledge of law that these were foundations courses and fundamental to their understanding of law, thereby further disadvantaging them in comparison to the LLB and BCom students.

When asked, Professor Glenda Fick, Head of the Law Department, said that BA students were not at any disadvantage when applying to complete their LLB as postgraduate students.
She said that in terms of work load, the committee that made the changes`  felt that as postgraduate students, these BA graduates should have already acquired skills that deal with heavier workloads.

She also said that the main criteria in the selection process when these students apply are their academic record and not the fact that they haven’t done two courses.

She said that this was a University decision and because both faculties were aware of the changes made, BA students would not be viewed any differently to BCom students who would have done all four law courses.

She continued saying that the Law Faculty was not responsible for the decision to make the changes, these changes were made by Humanities.

The Deputy Registrar of Humanities said that the main reason for taking the decision was that it was felt that the final year workload was too heavy for BA students. Not only did they have to do four law subjects, they also had to do four modules per other major. Some students had three majors.

This decision was also taken to curb the failure rates of students who were overloaded with work.

Therefore the verdict is that the benefit seems to outweigh the burden of doing two less subjects. This means more time to focus on fewer subjects ensuring higher marks which is indeed the most important factor in the selection process.

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