This nine-hour marathon, locally known as “Suneung”, is important for anyone seeking a place at one of the country’s most prestigious universities, but also offers high social status, rewarding careers and marriage opportunities.
South Korea’s highly competitive education system has been widely criticized for putting too much pressure on young students – the highest in the world – causing depression and teen suicide rates.
“I would like to say that I am proud of my daughter for her hard work to date and that whatever the outcome of this exam, it did not define her as a person,” the mother of one candidate told AFP that she wanted to reduce her daughter’s stress in this 2021 edition.
The Govt-19 epidemic has put extra pressure on students, parents and officials.
In the two weeks before the exam, students were forced to take online courses. According to the Ministry of Education, more than 509,000 students are appearing for the exam this year.
All students were required to wear a mask and had to undergo a cov test before getting their place behind their desks at 8:40 p.m.
– Airport Departure Stop –
Even those who tested positive for the virus – about 70 – had to be selected for the exam, at designated locations and separately from other students, often at medical centers.
To avoid any disruption, the authorities took drastic measures: administrations, banks and the stock market opened an hour later than usual, and they facilitated the movement and allowed students to come to the exam on time.
All departures and landings at airports across the country were suspended for 35 minutes during the audition in English. And all aircraft flying must maintain an altitude of over 3,000 meters.
The Department of Transportation said the timings of 79 flights had been changed due to the study.
Police cars and motorcycles were available in school zones for students arriving in traffic jams or late.
“This is a very important day for the selectors and last year was very difficult for them,” a police official told AFP before the exam.
“We are trying our best to show our support.”
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