Today was day when high school students across Korea wrote the nationwide University Entrance exams. According to the newspaper, nearly 700,000 students were scheduled to write the exam. That’s more people than in most Canadian cities! 😀
The poor students are under an unbelievable amount of pressure. My co-teacher said that high school students spend 3 years preparing for this one test. It starts at 8:30 am and runs until around 6pm. Korean universities are ranked and the results of this one day of testing will decide which university the student can attend. In a tiny nation of almost 50 million people, competition for jobs must be fierce!
The Korean government and public show an astounding amount of support and understanding for these poor high school students. Most businesses and schools (mine included) didn’t open today until 10am, decreasing the amount of traffic at rush hour and allowing the students to arrive on time. Many taxi companies dedicated a large number of taxis to driving students to their test. People were forbidden from honking their horns within 200 metres of high schools all day, and police were out to enforce it. Koreans love to honk; this must have been an interesting law to pass!
The listening section of the exam was from 8:30 to 9:00am. I was eating my breakfast and checking my email when suddenly I felt like I was on the set of a zombie movie. The sounds in my neighbourhood went from the normal hustle and bustle of morning to eerie quiet. No cars, no people, no ambulances (I live near a hospital); I don’t even the birds had the nerve to chirp! Then at 9 am, it was as if a button was pressed: everything returned to normal.
This article in the newspaper amazed me. I just can’t imagine this happening in Canada!
“The national college entrance exam in Korea is coming up this Thursday, on November 10th.
And to help students pay undivided attention during the listening portion of the test, all aircrafts, both civilian and military, will be prohibited from landing or taking off, from 8:35 to 8:58 a.m. and from 1:05 to 1:35 p.m., for a total of 53 minutes.
Planes in flight will have to maintain an altitude of over three kilometers during the designated times, and wait for confirmation from a control tower BEFORE descending.
The requirement, will apply to all planes flying over some 12-hundred test sites nationwide.
This means, flight schedules can change as well, so passengers are strongly recommended to confirm their flights with their airlines in advance.”