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SC innovation: Bar codes for bar exams.

Byline: Tarra Quismundo

MANILA -- To "modernize" the bar exams, the Supreme Court has turned to bar codes.

Examination booklets of some 6,344 bar applicants this year will carry a new security feature: bar codes on the first two sheets to ensure that the notebooks are properly tracked, easily encoded and checked under the correct owner.

"For the 2014 and succeeding bar examinations, the 'name card' utilized in previous examinations has been replaced by a 'bar code' system. The shift was made to modernize the conduct of the examinations to make the process of checking, encoding and decoding the examination booklets faster and more secure," said the high court in a briefer on the system.

The high court announced this yesterday as it laid out its plan to ensure the security of the bar exams, one of the country's toughest professional licensure exams and the only one not administered by the Professional Regulations Commission.

The exams will begin on Sunday at the University of the Santo Tomas (UST) in Manila and will continue for the three succeeding Sundays, said court spokesperson Theodore Te.

There are more retakers than firsttime examinees this year: 3,229, or 50.9 percent of examinees are repeating the exams, while 3,115 or 49.1 percent are firsttimers. This year's bar exams is the first since the high court removed the cap on retakes and lifted its fivestrike rule.

Last year, only 22.18 percent or 1,174 out of the total 5,593 applicants passed the bar.

Bar Confidant Cristina Layusa said the new bar code system would help better ensure the integrity of the exams.

"There will be two bar codes: one on the cover and another one inside. So in case something happensthere's a little (damage) on one sheetthere's another one. The name of the candidate will be on the bar code," she said in a press briefing.

"Head watchers in charge of the seating plan in the room will call [the examinee]. He will be given his notebook, then the bar code on the second sheet will be peeled off and then pasted on the seating plan [for that particular room]," she explained.

Layusa said the bar codes would replace the old system, where examinees' name cards were inserted in exam sheets to properly tag their booklets.

The Bar Code System is one of two innovations the Supreme Court is introducing this year. Earlier this week, it announced that exam takers would be required to use clear or seethrough bags for their belongings.

The high court said this system was adopted "considering the number of examinees and to speed up the inspection of bags and personal belongings of the examinees before entering their respective rooms assigned, and to further ensure the safety and security of the examinees and bar personnel."

Layusa said the high court would give some leeway on Sunday and allow examinees without clear bags to enter exam rooms, as they might have missed this week's announcement.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Oct 4, 2014
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