Editor's Comment

High-flying professionals carry development banner

THE warning by Chief Justice Irene Mambilima that the country risks producing lawyers who do not meet the minimum standards if the quality of legal practitioners is not checked should be taken seriously.
The Chief Justice’s concern is real because the failure to meet the minimum standards takes away the integrity of the profession.
During the admission of Director of Public Prosecutions Lillian Siyunyi and Attorney-General Likando Kalaluka to the inner bar as State Counsels, Mrs Justice Mambilima warned that the nation risked producing lawyers who did not meet the minimum standards if the quality of legal practitioners was not checked.
She urged Mr Kalaluka, as leader of the Bar, to ensure that the quality of those joining the legal profession remained exceptional
A profession prides itself in the quality of its high flying members who are able to understand issues, interpret pronouncements and apply theories to a given situation.
This means professionals play a critical role in the development process of the country. Everyone looks up to them to see if the measures being taken are the right ones or not.
For example, each time after the budget is announced in Parliament, attention shifts to economists and, for sure, they are always on hand to interpret the budget pronouncements and their implications.
Professional qualifications entail a high standard of results and rigorous training to ensure those who do not meet the requirements are rooted out before they are offloaded onto the labour market.
It is for this reason that any training institution sets minimum requirements for enrolment and anyone wishing to enter such training is scrutinised to make sure they are the right candidate.
But it is saddening that while there are those measures being put in place, the standards of the legal profession and other professions are going down.
One of the reasons that can account for an apparent decline in standards of professionals is the rampant leakages that the country witnesses every time there is a final school examination.
Though there have been measures implemented this year to stem the vice, there have been sporadic cases of thefts of examination papers, some of which, we are convinced, have found their way into the hands of pupils in examination classes.
We commend the Examinations Council of Zambia for putting in place measures to stem the once upon a time rampant examination malpractices, which plagued final examinations every year.
We urge them to work towards a zero examination malpractice so that the nation can see genuine results produced by honest students.
From another point of view, forging of results can be responsible for lowering the standard of graduates in a number of professions.
Although we are aware that the ECZ conducts checks on results of candidates, the practice still goes on. This calls for the need to strengthen the scrutiny process so that only candidates with genuine results are recruited.
We remember at one time some candidates who were found with forged school examination results during the police service interviews. This is the kind of pro-activeness that we need to see.
Any candidates who are not qualified should not be allowed to enrol for training because these contribute to the lowering of standards of any given profession.
The nation needs to have highly trained professionals in all fields, whom the government can depend on to move the wheels of development in the various offices they occupy.
The proliferation of training institutions should not contribute to the lowering of standards of professionals. We have come to know that some of the institutions are only interested in numbers, without being strict on the minimum standards. Such institutions risk their reputation.
With the qualifications authority now in place, let the nation see all these complaints come to end by ensuring that the entry requirements are strictly adhered to.
The nation needs a crop of highly trained professionals to safeguard the integrity of its fraternity.

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