MUSAWA's Observations on the Bar Finals

2018-05-07

Ramallah

West Bank / Gaza / Core Program 2016-2019

Dear Head of the Training Committee at the Bar Association

Adv. Amjad Al-Shilleh

 

Greetings,

 

MUSAWA – The Palestinian Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession extend their warmest greetings to you in expression of their appreciation for your official request, dated 28/04/2018, of MUSAWA to take part in invigilating the Bar final examination, held on 29/04/2018 from 11:00 AM until 2:00 PM at the premises of Birzeit University (Faculty of Law and Faculty of Education). In response to your letter, MUSAWA have appointed a team of seven invigilators: Adv. Ibrahim Barghouthi; Adv. Angham Mansour; Adv. Shurooq Abu-Qare’; Adv. Haneen Shbeikeh; MUSAWA’s Monitoring & Evaluation Officer, Ruba Bakeer; Adv. Malak Shkeikat; and MUSAWA’s volunteer and member of the Lawyers for the Rule of Law Groups (friends of MUSAWA), Muayad Abu-Assaf. The aforementioned invigilators supervised the examination rooms and made sure that they be present in the examination rooms from the beginning of the exam until the end. The observation covered all of the thirteen examination halls; eleven exams were held in the building of the Faculty of Education while two were held in the Faculty of Law building. MUSAWA’s monitoring team ensured to carry-out comprehensive supervision of most of the halls.

 

MUSAWA’s team noted the following:

 

1. The size of the hall were not suitable for the number of candidates; the rooms were overcrowded and in some cases the distance between the candidates did not exceed some centimeters, which theoretically provides the opportunity for the exchange of information among the candidates. The overcrowding applies to the majority of the exam rooms.

2. The significant increase in the number of invigilators for each small room causes tension that affects the mental integrity of the candidates, and raises unnecessary fear. The monitoring process could be achieved with fewer observers.

3. Some of the invigilators failed to restrict the answering of the candidates’ questions to the leading invigilation for each exam room.

4. The names of the candidates were not covered upon their receipt from the candidates or even after the exam had finished, but rather the exam papers were taken uncovered outside the exam rooms and delivered to the headquarters of the Bar, as stated by the invigilators.

5. External invigilation was very limited, and even restricted to MUSAWA, except for some short-term monitoring by other parties.

6. In some exam rooms, the candidates were allowed to use calculators in violation of the exam rules.

7. A leading invigilator failed to appear in their exam room, and he was not replaced, which led to a lack of discipline in one of the rooms (205), where the number of observers was limited to four, and some observers kept leaving the room, leaving only two invigilators inside the room in some cases. The rules for answering the candidates’ questions were significantly violated, and it was observed that the candidates had notable communications with the invigilators. 

8. Several attempts at cheating were made, which urged one of the external invigilators (female) to block the way between some examiners to prevent it. What is eye-catching is that some of the attempts at cheating in one of the rooms (room 205) were not handled by the room's observers, who did not take due action even though they were officially notified about it by one of MUSAWA’s members.

Recommendations:

1. We recommend conducting dialogue sessions in which the mechanisms and procedures of the invigilation are established in a clear, comprehensive, and binding manner for all of the observers.

2. We recommend overcoming the over crowdedness of exam rooms by providing more rooms that are more spacious.

3. All exam papers must be covered upon the submission of the paper, inside the exam room, and in front of the candidate and the observers.

4. Asking external invigilators to provide the exam committee with written reports on their observations, comments, and recommendations.

 

 

Issued on 07/05/2018

 

Executive Manager

Ahlam Tarayra

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