Half a million South Koreans take dreaded national exam

Seoul, Nov 17 (EFE).- More than half a million South Korean students were taking Thursday the notorious university entrance exam, a national event whose start forces the delay of the opening of the stock market, increases public transport and suspends aircraft takeoffs and landings during the second language test.

Some 508,030 high school students have signed up for “Suneung” this year, a Korean acronym for the college aptitude test.

In the 1,370 exam centers that are available in the country, separate spaces have been established, as in the previous two years, for students with Covid-19 and hospitalized students have also been allowed to take the exam in the centers themselves.

The education ministry in the country, where a seven-day quarantine is still mandatory if the virus is contracted, reported that in the last week just over 2,300 students taking the exam this year had tested positive for Covid-19.

“Suneung” is the culmination of years of academic effort for students in a country committed to education.

Students must take exams in eight different subjects over a nine-hour period that includes just under two hours for breaks and lunch.

Once exam day arrives, the frequency of morning public transport is increased, the Seoul Stock Exchange, foreign exchange markets and public officials start operating an hour later and police have special vehicles to transport – with the siren activated – students to exam centers if they are late.

Planes are prohibited from landing or taking off during the period in which the English listening comprehension test is held and aircraft awaiting arrival are asked to remain at a height above 10,000 feet (more than 3 kilometers.)

The measure has affected 18 domestic and 59 international flights this year, according to the Yonhap agency, citing the transport ministry. EFE


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