India being a developing state with a population of 1.3 billion people follows a democratic form of government and pays a lot of emphasis on the various sectors of the economy and welfare. Education being one of them is considered to be the most important sector for the growth and development of the country and thus clauses related to same are also provided in the Constitution of India under Article 21A, Article 39(f), and Article 45. As the nation is developing so is the education sector. Education sector in itself is very vast and cover almost all areas from, Science, Medical, Commerce, Arts, to Legal and many more.
In ancient times citizens used holy books, Vedas and manuscripts as the medium for their education, which later got changed to books authored by great scholars and researchers defining laws, formulas, symbols and theories. But now in the era of 21st century even the pattern of education from books is replaced and upgraded to sources available onto internet and other virtual Platforms, and today when the entire world is facing a pandemic and a life threatening situation due to COVID-19 virus the entire education system has turned to virtual education and so is the legal education system of our country. But as it is said a coin has two sides similarly this new, virtual pattern of education also has two sides’ its pros and cons.
Legal education in India find its origin to the Ancient times when Kings & Prices got the teachings about Dharma and Nyaya, then in the Mughal period vakil system or the legal representative system came. Legal education in India are consult in terms of the Advocates Act, 1961, which is a statute regulating the facet of legal education and also the conduct of legal profession. According to the basic structure of the Indian constitution, education is a social aspect and it gives every citizen the right to education and makes their life free from problems.
86th constitutional amendment act 2002, brings the insertion of Article 21A which says “the state shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years in such manner as the state may, by law, determine”. “Right of a child should not confine only to free and compulsory education, but should be enhanced to have quality education without any discrimination on the basis of their economic, social and cultural background.”
VIRTUAL LEGAL EDUCATION AND its MERITS
Legal education is a broad concept which includes the professions which is practised in court, law teaching, law research and administration in different branches and now everything has turned virtual so is the legal education system. The old techniques and practices of teaching legal studies has now converted to virtual medium, classrooms have converted to online meets, handwritten assignments has converted into documents and papers, books and study materials/notes is converted to PDF’s, e-books, documents and PPT’s. All these changes have broadened the scope of learning among the students as it provides them with new opportunities to learn, explore diverse resources and most importantly to be technology friendly. Virtual education has ample number of merits as it is turning to be a boon and some of the merits of virtual legal education which are as follows:-
Most of the students are benefitted through virtual legal education as they can study at their own pace.
Due to pandemic some of the persons who are not in legal field can also gain legal knowledge through virtual legal education which may help them in day to day life.
Students who were not able to purchase books due to lack of money are able to access virtual e-books and virtual materials which are Available on the internet and study materials offered virtually by certain mediums at lower prices.
Renowned law professionals, senior advocates, judges, and professors are conducting various virtual sessions, seminars and webinars on virtual platform like Google meet, Zoom, Air meet etc. during the lockdown which is turning to be very helpful for all law students, as well as other students who are not from the legal background across the globe in order to gain knowledge in the field of law by just attending these virtual webinars, seminars and sessions at their home.
Diverse range of study materials is also available on the internet & the other virtual platforms, which helps the students in their learning and reading. Through the help of these mediums it becomes easy for students to access study material, books and all other sources required for their studies.
Looking to the present scenario, where almost every country in the world is having lockdown, virtual education method is the only option available in order to continue and smooth running of the education system and so is also opted for the legal departments Bar Council of India has commanded all the universities and law schools to run online classes in order to smoothly continuation of the academic session for this year and so that the students does not face any problem in their academic session as well as their careers and also, so that this year can be saved form been declared as a zero year.
VIRTUAL LEGAL EDUCATION AND its DEMERITS
Legal education which is conducted virtually has a lot of demerits, such as:-
Most of the individuals who are from financially fragile background don’t have virtual resources and are unable to switch to virtual education. Even if some have virtual resources they face network problems and are unable to learn the concepts.
The output produced in virtual legal education is very less efficient than produced in non virtual education.
Most of the Professors are not technology friendly and do not have experience of conducting virtual classes. This leads to cancellation of classes in certain situations.
Sitting while taking or conducting virtual classes in front of the screen for long time also leads to physical as well as mental health problems for both students and professors.
Virtual classes are not as interactive as non virtual classes and leads to no development of overall personality of a student.
Most of the students are unable to concentrate in virtual mode due to lack of visual interaction and few students are distracted in virtual mode are not able to gain knowledge.
Students are chasing for virtual courses only for the sake of certificate and they have no intention to gain knowledge.
Pandemic has been hard and so are its challenges and switching to virtual system of education is one among them. Legal education in india is going through a virtual phase, though India is the largest in population of lawyers but it needs more proficient lawyers. Though there are demerits of virtual legal education, one should take it as the opportunity to learn in lockdown as this is the only option.
Sehgal, D. R. (2020, september 7). Retrieved from ipleaders: https://blog.ipleaders.in/pros-cons-getting-legal-education-india/
University of Illinois Springfiled. (n.d.). Retrieved from University of Illinois Springfiled: https://www.uis.edu/ion/resources/tutorials/online-education-overview/strengths-and-weaknesses/
Name: Piyush Tripathi
University: RNB Global University, Bikaner