Digital Bar exams hailed as innovative

The Supreme Court’s decision to hold digital bat examinations was hailed as an innovative balancing act of technology use and the need to maintain social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rizal Rep. Fidel Nograles, vice chairman of the Committee on Justice, also urged other government agencies to take their cue from the High Court, which has used technology to continue performing its mandate.

“Once again, the SC is leading the way in taking advantage of available technology in order to strike the balance between public safety and duty,” said Nograles, a deputy majority leader.

In a statement, the Supreme Court said it will hold “a digitalized, localized, and proctored modality” for the bar examinations.

The Court decided to hold digital bar examinations this year after a pilot test conducted on January 31 to assess proposed reforms proved successful. The mock exams took place in Metro Manila, Baguio, Cebu, and Davao.

Eighty law students participated in the trial using computer software while being proctored in testing rooms.

“From allowing virtual trials to expediting the release of persons deprived of liberty to decongest our jails, the high court has been quick to adapt to the situation. Such flexibility should be emulated across all of government,” Nograles said.

On the other hand, Nograles took the Civil Service Commission to task for its failure to hold online its eligibility examinations, which have been deferred since the enhanced community quarantine was imposed in March last year.

Nograles said there has been no word from the commission as to when it plans to conduct the exams even as government positions remain unfilled.

Based on the Department of Budget and Management’s staffing summary, there are 177,874 vacant positions in government, including both civilian and military/uniformed personnel.

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