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Why Do Law Students In Private Colleges Fail In Their Duty To Study?

The basis of our research was a survey we conducted among law students from a private college asking them questions regarding the problems they face and why they fail in their duty to study in a private law college. This article consists of some of the main reasons highlighted by the majority of students and also the solutions identified by them, we have tried to put their views into words.

There is a difference between the environment of NLU and a private law college, considering factors other than just the reputation of the institution, an obvious difference could be observed in the facilities and exposure a student gets while being a part of the institution. A student graduating from NLU gets better placement opportunities as well as an advantage over other students in attaining a job in a top tier law firm.

They have multiple motivational reasons to study, private law colleges' students on the other hand don't often get so. There are certain reasons which were highlighted by the students of private colleges themselves as to why they are somehow failing in their duty to study. Such reasons are written underneath in this article along with the solutions students believe might solve the highlighted problems. 

Why do law students in private colleges fail to study?
It's not about the kind of university you are studying in. For some students, university doesn't teach them everything, they are supposed to come and impart knowledge, it's up to us what they can do additionally. The studying pattern of both private and government are regulated by a single authority i.e. Bar Council of India, so we cannot say that universities other than private universities teach different things.

The subject law is the same for all, but it depends on how a student explores it or takes interest in that particular subject. Private universities have all facilities like an ADR room, library with a wide range of law books, Moot court room etc. Most of the private universities are giving admissions just by taking heavy amount of donation and do not bother about the IQ level of student but in government universities admission is possible only by giving admission test which student have to through his knowledge.

So, most of the students who take admission through donation do not have value of study and money. But in government universities and NLUs, students take admission after clearing their exam and they respect their studies and also their money. This is also a reason they perform their duty more accurately than the private universities students.

The crowd exposure in government universities and NLUs is wider than private universities as in government universities students take admission from different parts of countries that will allow them to make contacts in a wide range but in private universities most regional people take admission so the exposure is less and we all know that law is all about contacts. But students are not only the factor behind the successful rate of universities, there were more other facts because of them a law student fails to perform his duty, no matter if the university is private or not.

The other factors like private universities manipulate results of students in order to promote their university, so that more students take admission in their university and they can earn profits, they are profit driven, that is why it does not concern them if the student they are giving admission to is competent or not. But at the end of the day it is the duty of students to study while they are in college but clearly, they are failing in their duties, so what are the reasons and what can be the solutions for the problems they face?

Following are some of the problems highlighted by students in private law colleges themselves and solutions suggested by them only:
  1. No admission tests 
    About 75,183 candidates appeared for the common law aptitude test in 2020, the reason behind this massive number of students appearing in the test is because this test acts as a gateway to admission in 22 national law schools across the country. The admission in the NLUs is a dream of almost all the students aspiring to study law and here is the deal, not every aspirant is going to qualify and reserve a seat for themselves in the NLUs, private universities are often a second and last choice for them.

    Most of the law aspirants would not want to opt for admissions in private law schools before trying their luck in CLAT, we cannot deny the fact that it is easier to get admissions in the private law schools when compared with NLUs, so the aspirants who fail to qualify in the CLAT examinations consider private colleges as a backup for themselves. Most of the private universities don't even require the students to pass an aptitude test and give admissions on the basis of board results, third tier universities generally don't even have a criterion based on which they could judge a person's competency to enter their institution as a student.

    This might be a problem for not just the institution but also for the students who are pretty serious about their career in the field of law, as people judge and create an image of the institutions highlighting the average and below average students while doing so and impact the credibility and reputation of the whole institution.

    It would not be wrong to point out that students in private law schools fail to study and achieve the level so achieved by the public law schools and there are several other reasons for that including this one, with no minimum criteria required, student's beliefs are influenced, we can call it the cognitive impact of the past behaviors, resulting in them to believe that studying here in this institution is not a mandate for them to qualify as a professional, the way it was not required at the time of admission in the institution.

    To some extent this belief of theirs is also influenced by the experience shared by their peers. A reputation is created and communicated largely and that impacts the impression and behavior of the students studying in the institution.

    As already highlighted, the absence of minimum criteria of marks required for admission in private law schools impacts the behavior of the students making them believe that studying in law school is not a mandate, so if the private law schools simply add a qualification requirement which is stricter than it currently is, they can redeem their reputation, this is one of the factors why NLU students don't fail in their duties to study, they have studied their way to the college, they are well aware that it is the only thing that will get them through the law school.

    Private law colleges on the other hand are all about getting maximum number of students to get admitted in their institutions and acquire maximum profits as a result of the same. Eliminating this simple system of admission and only admitting students who are actually competent by explicitly announcing a process for that and refusing admission of students who do not pass the requirements would largely affect the behavior of law students and they would understand the need to study while being in the law school.
  2. More concerned about the attendance and marks
    It should not come as a surprise anymore that students in private law schools are merely attending classes for the sake of attendance. The faculty members are also well aware of this fact and often use this over obsession with attendance as a bait for students to get things that are required done. This results in students to care about attendance more than they care about their studies.

    It is an undeniable fact that every college requires students to maintain a percentage of attendance and the reason behind this condition put upon by colleges to make students attend the classes is completely valid, the aim is to make them attend the class and understand the concepts better but the applicability of such measures is clearly not up to the mark. As per the classical conditioning theory, "two stimuli are linked together to produce a new learned response in a person or animal."

    When one person notices that he is getting a reward at the happening of a certain event for a certain time period continuously, that person tends to expect that reward at the happening of that particular event every single time, he is conditioned to do so. In case of a student, he is getting attendance as a reward for being present in the class, the attendance is his reward. Studying on the other hand is not giving him any sort of reward instantly. A student conditioned to receive an instant reward would avoid the things that are not instantly rewarding.

    This could also be the reason why students tend to study a day before exam, they are aware that marks are important, we have learnt to believe so since the beginning of our education. Marks are always given priority, that is the reason why students start studying a day before exam so that they can get good marks and pass the semester not because they know the need and importance of studying for a better career.

    Students think that they have paid the fees, attended the classes, attained passing marks and that is enough and now they can get their degree and be a lawyer. We are all conditioned to believe so. This is caused due to lack of proper guidance from the very beginning. A lawyer needs more than just adequate attendance and passing marks obtained by studying a night before exam. Devoting their time to acquire actual knowledge is a mandate for a lawyer to excel in their careers.

    The problem mentioned above can be resolved by just one simple measure but needs contribution from both the faculty and the students. Faculty need to devote their time and explain the need to acquire knowledge and how this would act as shapeshifter of the careers of students. Students on the other hand need to give up on their conditioned thinking that all they need to be a lawyer is a degree obtained by maintaining attendance records and passing marks. The simple measure is to have sessions regarding this teaching that needs to be instilled in the student's mind. Marks should not be the priority, as we all know that they are not enough, so why prioritize them, so is attendance.

    Points should be given to students for extra activities they do, like researching and writing papers on legal topics, acquiring experience and knowledge outside their curriculum and for the skills that they are developing. This would encourage everyone to at least try and acquire knowledge besides just memorizing the syllabus and getting marks.
  3. Less focus on practical skills:
    Sometimes I wish there were more practical skills taught by law school and I believe I speak on behalf of all the law students when I say that law schools should teach us how to survive in the field of law after completing law school. Practical knowledge is often overlooked and students did not join the law school to attend a class where the teacher is reading a bare act out loud and explaining concepts from a textbook which they could themselves read, law schools should be more than that and when this expectation of students that they are going to learn how to be a lawyer in the college is not fulfilled they tend to give up which is one of the reasons why they fail in their duty to study, on the other hand most the institution does is organize a lecture or workshop given by a renowned professor which does expand the knowledge but is it really enough?

    Half of the students in law schools would actually prefer if they were learning the real life things, they would be facing out there when they graduate than sitting in a classroom and following a time-table, a practice they have been following in schools as well.

    The traditional teaching methods need amendments, an ordinary academic year is just classes for 3-4 months, numerous written assignments and final exams with a requirement to do an internship of at least 4 weeks which too is not strict as a faux certificate could be easily made and end of semester. Multiply this by 10- and 5-year integrated course ends.

    "All law graduates becoming lawyers by default was affecting the standard of the profession and said it must be ensured that only "suitable" LLB degree holders join practice." This statement shows concern of the supreme court regarding the growing number of laws graduates every year and degradation of the field of law with the growing number. The reason behind this could be interpreted straightforwardly, the lack of practical knowledge and competency of students to understand the delicacy of this profession.

    What exactly does an institution need to do in order to instill proper knowledge and experience in students regarding this field? Firstly, the traditional teaching methods should continue for a limited period of time for as long as it is absolutely necessary to make students understand the concepts related to various important subjects and fields, rest should be by the way of visiting actual places of work and understanding what it is like to be working in that environment where that student is expected to be working in.

    An internship offers that but college expects us to find internships ourselves and half of the students out there are merely performing their duties for a certificate and are not effective in teaching students much.

    On the other hand, if the college would themselves approach the workplaces and make students work there and make sure that they actually are working instead of just getting a certificate from them and showing it to the authorities in college, this might change the scenario.

    Considering the institution has made an effort in making students understand the work spaces, the students would not only understand how things work after graduation but would also begin to believe that there is a need to study and work hard while being in college as this profession demands so.
  4. Competition and distractions:
    There is no substitute for hard work and law students require to study in order to be a better legal professional. One of the major differences between NLUs and private law colleges is that students in NLUs are in close contact with just other law students whereas law students in other colleges are in contact with students from other departments too. The societies and communities formed within the NLUs are focused on issues related to law and legal profession only.

    Another factor contributing to the problem is the fact that most of the students in private law colleges have reserved their seat in the college based on their board exam marks and not based on CLAT or any entrance exam and they are not competitive. Lack of competition leads to lack of will to study in the minds of students. Students who have taken admission in private colleges are simply there for a degree, it's not impossible to get a degree and that is the reason why no one desires to go beyond their ways and focus on their studies.

    Ultimately the students who are in fact serious about their careers observe that there is no competition, they are already topping classes without putting in much effort, leading to the lack of studies. So, while we are still highlighting these issues faced by students, how can we overlook the drama! one of the reasons why students fail in their duties to study is because of the constantly recurring distractions in various forms, as we discussed earlier that there are several students who are just there for a degree and not because they care about being a professional in this field, these are the students responsible for drama and nuisance.

    There is always a lot going on in college. Another contributing factor is the presence of other departments in private colleges, NLUs have an environment which can facilitate the professionalism in the minds of students, private colleges on the other hand cannot maintain that environment due to the presence of other departments.

    For the problem highlighted above, the missing factor in the private law colleges is an environment that could facilitate a healthy competition between the students and avoid the distractions. Also, this change in environment would make students think in a professional way. To create a healthy competition, there needs to be activities and events like moot courts, debates, etc. planned out continuously.

    This small change with many others would definitely make a change in not just the life of students but also in the goodwill of the institutions.
    We cannot disagree that activities like such are organized but not strictly. Students should also be encouraged to organize these activities themselves and this will give them a feeling that they belong to that institution.

    NLUs offer their students facilities like placements in top tier law firms and other benefits that arise because of the reputation they carry. Private institutions need to offer such an environment too. Undeniably, they try to provide students opportunities to grow not just nationally but also internationally.

But then again, it is the duty of students to study and According to us, the main factor for the success of the student is his internal will. If he does not want to study or have a successful future, no university can force him or change his future. So, in the subject of law the university is not the matter for the success of the student whether private and government it all depends on how a student utilize the resources provided by the universities.

The only way a university can help is by avoiding giving admissions to students who are not competent enough, they need to act like they are educational institutions they claim to be rather than acting like a profit driven business. Once a student has entered the college, by making sure they don't feel like all they are supposed to do is study a night before and get their degree and that is literally all they need to do to be a lawyer.

There has to be a change in the behavior of the student and they need  to realize the importance of studying as a student. With that being said, the universities need to create an environment which is suitable for students who are actually serious about their careers and education unlike most of the students and promote a healthy competition alongside. Written By:
  1. Shubham Parashar,
  2. Naman Singla And
  3. Harshita Setia

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