SC set to test viability of computerized Bar exams
Aspiring lawyers waiting outside the Supreme Court compound for the results of the 2017 bar exams on Thursday, April 26, 2018.
Philstar.com/Erwin Cagadas

SC set to test viability of computerized Bar exams

Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - October 9, 2020 - 3:51pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court is set to test the viability of computerizing the next Bar examinations, it announced on Friday.

In its latest Bar bulletin, Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, 2020/21 Bar examinations chairperson, said that in the coming months, a series of activities will be launched to test the viability of computerizing the next Bar examinations, under a localized and proctored setting.

“This would do away with the traditional handwritten examinations, which have long been deemed to affect the evaluation of answers and distorted the playing field. This would also facilitate the expeditious evaluation of answers of Bar candidates and the early release of the Bar Examination results,” the Bar bulletin further read.

The SC said they will hold two mock Bar examinations in several law schools across the country, in partnership with the Philippine Association of Law Schools and other relevant sectors.

Leonen said that this can help the Office of the Bar Chairperson to assess the most apt modality for the Bar exams. 

The SC will announce the modality of the next Bar exams in the first quarter of 2021, he added.

Three-examiners per subject

The SC also said that the next Bar examinations will have three examiners per subject.

Leonen said that SC en banc approved the creation of a Committee of Bar Examiners composed of three members each.

“This is to maximize efficiency in preparing questions and evaluating answers, in light of the projected increase in examinees due to the postponement of the 2020 Bar Examinations,” the justice said.

This will also guarantee “more judicious, quality-made examinations,” he added.

For the 2019 Bar examinations, the SC adopted a two-examiner per subject policy following the recommendation of Senior Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe, who headed the 2019 Bar committee.

Leonen said: “These innovations reflect the Court’s leap toward a more inclusive and fair admission to the practice of law. Such measures are not only necessary but also inesecpable consequence of our current demands."

“The COVID-19 pandemic ignited the resolve to effect the much-needed reforms in a system long pervaded with inquiries. Ultimately, they ensure more reliable and equitable Bar examinations,” he added.

In a separate Bar bulletin, Leonen said that the scope and cut off of canonical jurisprudential doctrines shall be extended until Sept. 30, 2020. For laws, rules and issuances, the cut off remains the same or until June 30, 2019.

Bar exams are traditionally held during the four Sundays of November each year at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila. But the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine protocols enforced across the country to curb its spread pushed back the conduct of the exams to 2021.

This means that law graduates in 2020 and 2021 will be allowed to apply for the next batch of Bar applicants.

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