This is a brief look at the ‘exam-mania’ that exists in Korea.
This is a picture from the high school opposite my school on exam day. The road was pretty much blocked off and there was a police presence and extra traffic conductors. From what I’ve been told by my co-teachers this day is the most important 9 hour day in any student’s life. Even flight paths/aircraft are diverted from taking off or landing incase they disturb the listening part of the exam.
Weeks before the test, many mothers appear at local Buddhist temples to lay flower wreaths and pray, kneeling hundreds of times in an appeal to the gods above.
Many teachers and exam proctors are ordered not to wear flashy clothing, high heels or squeaky shoes. They’re told not to chew gum, breathe too loudly or make eye contact with students during the exam hours, on the slight chance that they will distract test-takers.
Extra subway trains and buses were scheduled to make sure all exam-takers arrived on time. Those who ran late could dial a special phone number for a police escort to the test. Businesses with more than 50 employees were told to allow workers to come in an hour late in order to free up transportation for students. The National Police Agency asked drivers not to honk near test sites, and construction companies were requested to halt work near the sites. Even Seoul’s stock market started an hour late.
Blimey. So relieved I got my education in the UK.