About a month or so ago, there was the national college entrance exam for high school seniors. This is the test that students study for almost all of their grade school life. As far as I know, there is only one chance a year for seniors to take the test, then they are able to retake the next year, and then the following year. This test is one of the defining factors to where a student will go to college in Korea. There as been numerous documentaries about this test, and many reports about the education system in this country.
On the day of the test, I joined a friend and her boyfriend to her boyfriend’s old high school to see students come out after the test, and just seeing the mothers cling to their sons (it was an all boys school) was adorable. Other than this, there were people who were outside the school advertising for their 학원 (Hakwon, after school academics) that is specifically designed for that test. Basically they were giving flyers for students who want to retake the test, which is kind of harsh in my opinion. They showed so much pride in their children for completing the test. Overall the experience was quite strange, after watching so many documentaries and hearing personal experience, mainly only hearing negativity about the test, those students walking out seemed so cool and collected, just as its apart of their life and weren’t going to abstain from it.
I would like to see some changes to this test taking culture in the future, as it brings many negative outcomes to the students mental stability and their perspectives on education. However, as I am not from South Korea, I cannot be the one the change this at all.