CSC set on shifting to online civil service exams, says official

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 14) — The shift to online civil service examinations is already a go, but details still need to be ironed out, a Civil Service Commission official said Wednesday.

“Para po sa safety ng examinees at ng mga magbibigay ng exams, at para tuloy-tuloy din po ang mandato ng CSC, we deem it best to restructure the pen and paper test para gawin po itong online exams,” Commissioner Aileen Lizada told CNN Philippines.

[Translation: For the safety of the examinees and proctors, and in line with the CSC’s mandate, we deem it best to restructure the pen and paper test and convert it to online exams.]

Lizada said the CSC is targeting to hold the online exams next year. But a lot of matters are still in the pipeline as they move towards digitization, including the number of times they will hold the exams.

The pen and paper test is conducted only twice a year, with both times postponed this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the bases behind the decision to hold it biannually is the complicated logistics involved, Lizada said, which means the transition to online might change that.

“If we are online already, hindi na kami magpapalipad ng test booklets sa mga region, hindi na ganun karami ang proctors sa classroom,” she explained, saying there “might be more than two” exams next year.

[Translation: If we are online already, we no longer need to send test booklets by planes for distribution among regions, and there wouldn’t be as many proctors in the classroom.]

They would first need to pilot a smaller number of examinees, however, to assess and pinpoint possible issues with the digital shift, according to the commissioner. Considerations for those who have poor internet signal, no gadgets, or those with low-spec computers would also have to be made.

Apart from these, Lizada said the CSC is studying the possibility of allowing Filipinos living abroad to take the online exams, as well as lowering the passing grade amid public clamor.

For the rest of the year, the commission will coordinate with the national Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 in crafting the mechanics. The list of requirements for those who intend to take the exam will be issued before the year ends, Lizada said.

She also clarified that the online tests are still different from the computerized exams, wherein applicants take the test in the regional CSC offices. For this mode, she said the CSC will likewise work with the IATF regarding measures to safeguard the health of those involved.