A student hugs her mother, right, before entering a high school to take the college entrance exam in Seoul, South Korea on Thursday, Dec 3, 2020. South Korean officials urged on Wednesday people to remain at home if possible and cancel gatherings as about half a million students prepare for the crucial national college exam.

South Koreans take college entrance exam amid viral resurgence – education

Hundreds of thousands of masked students in South Korea, including 35 confirmed COVID-19 patients, took the highly competitive college entrance exam on Thursday despite a viral resurgence that forced authorities to toughen social distancing rules. .

Roughly 493,430 students were taking the one-day exam at roughly 1,380 sites across the country, including hospitals and other medical facilities where the 35 virus patients and hundreds of others self-quarantined examined sat apart from others, according to the Ministry of Health. Education. .

Annual exams are crucial for many students in a country obsessed with education, where job prospects, social position, and even who you marry can often depend on which university you graduate from.

Education officials said authorities have banned the military exercises and will temporarily halt air traffic to reduce noise during the English listening portions of Thursday’s exams, as they did in previous years. Government offices and many private companies asked their employees to be late, and the country’s stock market delayed its opening to clear paths for test takers.

This year’s exams were originally scheduled for November, but were delayed due to the virus outbreak. Experts say that intermittent online classes have widened the gap between high achievers and low achievers due to less interaction with teachers, digital distractions and technical difficulties.

“If the exam had been delayed again, our children would have felt much more psychological pressure … I think it is fortunate that the exam is taking place now,” said Kim Sun-wha, mother of an examinee. “I hope everyone avoids making mistakes, does the best they can and gets good results.”

The mothers hugged their children and patted them on the back before entering a temporary examination site set up at a high school in Seoul. One yelled, “Don’t be nervous! Do well! “And another yelled” Cheer up! “

Students must wear masks during the test, take their temperature, and keep their distance from each other. Those with a fever will go to separate testing areas. There are a total of 1,383 sites, an increase of 198 from last year.

In recent days, South Korean officials have urged the public to stay home and avoid gatherings as much as possible to provide a safe environment for test takers.

Park Yu-mi, an antivirus officer in Seoul, also asked companies that at least a third of their employees work from home.

There are concerns that nationwide testing could accelerate the viral spread in South Korea.

South Korea reported 540 new cases on Thursday, for a total of 35,703. Last week he reimposed strict distancing guidelines in the Seoul metropolitan area and elsewhere to try to suppress a surge in new infections.


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