education, life in korea

South Korea’s College Scholastic Ability Test

 South Korea’s high school seniors took the College Scholastic Ability Test yesterday. The result of this test will determine their “future”. Koreans take too much importance on university education, most especially which university one graduates from. That is why, it is imperative for high school seniors to do very well on this exam. This is such a pressure-filled endeavor that prior to taking this exam Korean students seem to barely sleep. They have numerous after-school tutorials. tsk. tsk.

Just how important is this test?

Company workers and civil servants were supposed to report to work one hour later than usual to ease traffic jams which could disturb test takers. Drivers were restrained from honking their horns when passing by schools and aircraft had to delay landing and take-off during Korean and English listening tests.” – Korea Times, full article here

Half naked students wearing black ties sing a song in front of Chunchon High School in Gangwon Province to cheer up their seniors taking the college admission test, Thursday. / Yonhap

English listening tests? Come on, from where I live, I can barely have a decent English conversation with my neighbors unless they lived abroad. Where did all those english education go after the exam?

I very well understand the hoopla and grand showing of support during send-off of bar examinees sponsored by Bar Operations groups formed by law universities and fraternities in the Philippines. Taking up Law is a person’s choice after finishing the four-year university course… at the age of twenty or beyond, nineteen at the earliest. To pass the bar exam is almost an individual obsession, understandably because the decision to get a legal career is not government-mandated but a personal choice. But this! A high school senior’s life… at 17… will be defined by a government-mandated exam… Oh, well… Koreans would always say “That’s why we are a great country”. I personally know a Korean who never fails to say that. LOL.

One comment in a related article says it all:

hitest   (   11-13-2008 14:12  
And so tonight we should expect many screaming students celebrating to all hours of the morning, or else screaming as they plunge to their death out of high rise apartments because they didn’t do well.

So true. Another blog aptly titled his post about this: “The Peak of Suicide Season: A Prayer for Korean Students“. I feel for the young people. I abhor the arrogance that goes with it by the adults.  Oh well…

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