HELP University offers two Foundation programmes: the Foundation in Arts and Foundation in Science.
As a preparation for university study, they are no less rigorous compared to other pre-university courses. In fact, they offer some clear advantages.
They include modules like Study Skills, Critical Thinking Skills, Personal Development and Leadership, and Culture, Arts and Politics. They provide academic knowledge as well as develop thinking and critical minds, personal and leadership qualities and well-informed individuals who are cognizant of contemporary culture, arts and politics.
Another advantage is the diversity in the type of electives to prepare students for admission into subject majors in the university. In the Foundation in Arts, they include Legal Studies, Psychology, Accounting, Business, Economics, Early Childhood Education, TESL, Communication, Maths, Calculus and Programming.
The Legal Studies elective is a popular choice for students who intend to read for a Law degree at HELP.
“For students interested in Law, the best way is to take the Legal Studies module at the Foundation level”, said Dhanesh Balakrishnan, Dean of University Foundation Studies at HELP, who is a lawyer himself.
“It can be taken in the second or third semester. They will experience at first-hand what the study of Law is really about. Students who did not consider doing law have opted to do so after doing the module at the Foundation level”.
Dhanesh Balakrishnan advocates a strong foundation for aspiring lawyers.
Dhanesh cites the classic example of Emeline Khoo who had not planned to pursue a law degree until she sat in his class and found the subject fascinating.
Emeline went on to join the UK Law Degree Transfer Programme at HELP’s Faculty of Law and Government and completed her studies at the University of the West of England, Bristol (UWE), graduating with First Class Honours. Emeline also won the prestigious Lord Templeman Scholarship tenable at UWE.
“The Foundation in Arts helped me to decide my career path in Law”, Emeline admitted. “I met some of the most dedicated and passionate lecturers who were not only concerned with the syllabus and academic materials, but also ensured the development of soft skills so essential at the workplace”.
In view of the current pandemic, HELP currently offers a special package for students if they enrol in the Foundation programme and complete the 3-year HELP LLB.
Welcoming this arrangement, Dean of the Faculty of Law and Government, Vasantha Punniamoorthy explains why the HELP LLB is an apt choice for aspiring lawyers:
“Building on the strong basis provided by the HELP Foundation, we provide an education that prepares students to take their places as honourable members of the legal profession. We provide high quality teaching and our faculty members are experienced, dedicated and qualified. Some were former practitioners who have turned to full-time teaching. We believe that great careers are built on firm foundations”.
Vasantha: “Our approach is holistic; we believe that great careers are built on firm foundations”.
The students’ knowledge and skills are also strengthened through two modules: Legal Skills and Legal Practice. They impart skills such as legal research, drafting, advocacy, client counselling, opinion writing, negotiation and mooting. Ethical principles are also emphasised. All these are an essential part of the Faculty’s pedagogical excellence and are aimed at fulfilling the legal profession’s demand for competent, ethical and immediately employable law graduates.
This enlightened approach to curriculum design echoes the views of Harry T Edwards, a judge of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, who wrote in the Michigan Law Review (91:8, 1993, p 2191) on the growing disjunction between legal education and the legal profession:
“The firms should be ensuring that associates and partners practice law in an ethical manner. But many law schools have abandoned their proper place by emphasizing abstract theory at the expense of practical scholarship and pedagogy. While the schools are moving toward pure theory, the firms are moving toward pure commerce, and the middle ground - ethical practice - has been deserted by both. ...if law schools continue to stray from their principal mission of professional scholarship and training, the disjunction between legal education and the legal profession will grow and society will be the worse for it”.
The Faculty provides other learning and practical experiences designed to strengthen students’ competencies.
It publishes the HELP Law Review and the HELP Student Law Journal which function as incubators of knowledge and ideas to sharpen legal thinking and encourage research, writing, publishing and collaboration amongst the faculty members, students and members of the legal fraternity. Students learn the art and skill of legal writing, reporting and presentation to facilitate the creation and dissemination of legal thought and ideas. This is important to sustain law as a vibrant system of thought, a philosophy, body of knowledge, and above all as a profession.
HELP’s law students will also be equipped with soft skills that will help them in their careers: workshops in resume writing and accounting for lawyers; and seminars in business, economics, communication and psychology.
“They cannot be expected to know only the law”, says Vasantha. “Law must be read as an integrated discipline, eg with economics and business. Graduates must be able to understand the law and ethics needed for the IR4.0 and AI era. All our students are also given the opportunity to do the Certificate in Data and Business Analytics course at no additional cost to them”.
The HELP LLB is recognised by the Malaysian Legal Profession Qualifying Board and graduates are eligible to sit for the CLP exam.
HELP’s special package for Foundation students to continue into the HELP LLB for RM60,000 is payable over the 4 years’ duration of the two programmes.
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