Bar exams outside Manila: The SC mindset

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

“Doors to the bar swing on slow hinges.” -- From a Supreme Court decision

THERE'S NOT much hope to pin on Thursday's decision of the Supreme Court (SC) ordering the committee on bar examinations to study the request of Cebu City Council that the annual tests be also held in Visayas and Mindanao.

The high tribunal had been asked before and, after each study, would say no. The SC mindset is that the exams, the toughest in the country, would be more secure and less expensive to manage when held in Manila.

To examinees from the provinces, taking the bar at the capital is a much heavier load financially, physically and emotionally. To law schools outside Manila, it is more difficult to coach their graduates in crucial weeks before the tests. (A local law school would send someone from the faculty who could do no more than cheer his students at the UST gate.) The odds are stacked against "provinciano" aspirants.

Holding exams in, say, Cebu and Davao would require separate teams of proctors, thus bigger expense for the court. A one-time fee surcharge though could cover the extra tab.

And technology already enables simultaneous release and production of test questions with almost nil chance of leakage.


The SC might depart from tradition and try decentralized sites, which other government examinations have long adopted.

But law's snobbery (slow-hinged doors to "an old and noble profession"), which the SC affirms, could be the spoiler again to the suggestion for a fair and pragmatic way to test would-be lawyers.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 10, 2013.


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