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01 March 2024 | Story VALENTINO NDABA | Photo SUPPLIED
Prof Geo Quinot and with Ntando Ncamane
Prof Geo Quinot from Stellenbosch University, pictured with Ntando Ncamane, a Lecturer in the UFS Department of Mercantile Law.

The Department of Mercantile Law at the University of the Free State (UFS) recently spearheaded a Legal Education Colloquium, marking the genesis of a groundbreaking book project with the vision of revitalising legal education across South Africa. Attended by luminaries from academia, legal practitioners, and students, the event featured Professor Geo Quinot from Stellenbosch University, a distinguished figure renowned for his profound insights into legal education, as the keynote speaker.

Ntando Ncamane, a Lecturer in Mercantile Law, provided a comprehensive overview of the colloquium’s objectives, outcomes, and future trajectory. "The dynamic evolution of legal frameworks, notably the promulgation of the Constitution, statutes, and landmark cases, has necessitated a reformation in South African legal education,"  Ncamane remarked. He underscored the pivotal role of digital transformation, particularly in the context of the pandemic, and emphasised the joint commitment of regulatory bodies and academic institutions towards fostering an ethos of engaged scholarship. The colloquium served as a platform to dissect and explore transformative trends, inviting stakeholders to deliberate on novel perspectives and navigate emerging challenges in legal education.

Insights from Prof Geo Quinot and eminent experts

Reflecting on the invaluable insights garnered from deliberations, Ncamane highlighted Professor Quinot's keynote address, which advocated for a reimagining of collaborative endeavours, particularly involving students. Discussions spanned an array of topics including innovative methodologies, enhancing assessment frameworks, leveraging digital platforms for education, integrating competition law into curricula, promoting engaged scholarship, nurturing emotional intelligence among students, and addressing complexities within modules such as civil procedure. Stimulating dialogues on decoloniality, decolonisation, and ubuntu ethos also permeated the discourse. 

The forthcoming book, a culmination of the colloquium, will traverse themes encompassing Digital Education, Student Engagement, and Decolonisation. Ncamane elucidated, "Contributors will be aligned with one of the themes based on the relevance of their contributions…A call for papers was issued, eliciting abstract submissions from prospective contributors."

Scholars hailing from diverse academic institutions including the UFS, University of the Witwatersrand, University of Limpopo, University of Fort Hare, North-West University, Varsity College, and Stellenbosch University, have been enlisted for participation. Each chapter will undergo a peer review process, ensuring scholarly rigour and academic excellence. 

Role and impact of the book

Articulating the envisioned role of the book, Ncamane underscored its potential to reshape legal education and curriculum development. He said, "The book offers key approaches that can be adopted by legal scholars to improve teaching methods, ultimately benefiting students, academics, and society at large."

With regards to timelines, Ncamane indicated that the publication is slated for release in late 2024 or early 2025, contingent upon the duration of the blind review process and editorial refinement. The Legal Education Colloquium and its ensuing book project exemplify a concerted endeavour to address the evolving imperatives of legal education, foster scholarly discourse, and contribute meaningfully to the enhancement of legal praxis in South Africa.

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