MANILA - The Legal Education Board of the Philippines has suspended the Philippine Law School Admission Test (PhiLSAT) for school year 2020-2021, citing the "public health emergency situation" in the country.
The Board's Memorandum Circular No. 57 was released hours after President Rodrigo Duterte extended the enhanced community quarantine in various parts of the country until May 15.
Under the expanded community quarantine guidelines, Filipinos aged 20-years-old and below in areas with high incidence of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are required to stay at home as the government tries to contain the spread of the disease.
"In light of the public emergency situation... the Philippine Law School Admission Test is hereby suspended for Academic Year 2020-2021," the Legal Education Board's memorandum read.
"Law schools shall administer their own substitute admission exam to individuals who wish to be admitted into the law program," it said.
Should public health policies "prohibit or make the conduct of the substitute admission exam difficult," law schools may "waive the exam requirement," it said.
"In lieu of the substitute admission exam, the law school implementing it shall implement a retention policy for its first year students admitted to AY 2020-2021," it said.
All law schools will be required to submit an admission report that explains its new admission policy during the coronavirus crisis, along with a "copy of the substitute admission exam or copy of retention policy to be implemented in lieu of the substitute admission exam."
Law schools are also mandated to submit to the Board a list of enrolled students for this school year.
Students who were admitted to a law school on the condition that he or should would pass the PhiLSAT in 2020 "shall no longer be required to take the exam and have their admission regularized," according to the memorandum.
Students admitted into law schools in the second semester of school year 2019-2020 "without PhiLSAT eligibility shall be deemed regularized" provided that his or her law school would submit an explanation justifying the admission," it said.
Schools are expected to adjust the opening of classes to late September, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said in a taped announcement.
The national government has also advised educational institutions to shift to online learning as virtual classes may be the "new normal" in the education sector, while a cure for COVID-19 has yet to be discovered.