1000’s of S.Koreans take gruelling school examination in pandemic’s shadow


SEOUL (Reuters) – Greater than half one million South Koreans sat for the annual nationwide school entrance exams on Thursday, pandemic guidelines including stress to the eight-hour occasion seen as life-defining in Asia’s fourth-largest economic system.

This yr’s test-takers did not face the delays and uncertainties of the primary pandemic-era exams final yr, however COVID-19 measures have left their mark on the School Scholastic Potential Check (CSAT) extensively thought of as indispensable for touchdown considered one of a restricted variety of jobs in a aggressive society.

“I could not go to personal institutes, school rooms, nor college correctly as a result of coronavirus,” mentioned 17-year-old Ahn Jeong-min. “Nonetheless, I am vaccinated, and everybody will put on face masks and use partitions in the course of the examination, so I believe I can take the examination nicely, feeling comfy somewhat than a lot concern.”

Greater than 509,000 highschool seniors, graduates and others have signed as much as take the single-day, five-session examination held at 1,251 check websites nationwide, in accordance with the training ministry.

At the least 173 individuals who examined optimistic for the coronavirus or in any other case required isolation will take the check at hospitals or separate examination centres, the ministry mentioned.

Thursday morning noticed conventional society-wide efforts to assist the test-takers, with the nation’s monetary markets opening an hour later than standard to ease site visitors.

Business air site visitors was scheduled to be suspended throughout a key interval within the afternoon, warplanes from the South Korean and U.S. militaries will probably be grounded, and live-fire workouts shut down all through the day, officers mentioned.

“We’re doing our half to maintain distractions down so you’ll be able to hold your scores up!” tweeted U.S. Forces-Korea (USFK), which incorporates about 28,500 American troops stationed in South Korea.

Pandemic measures meant different, louder traditions to want the test-takers nicely had been lacking.

Exterior colleges in Seoul, there was not one of the customary cheering by highschool juniors, praying dad and mom, or schoolmates who sometimes beat drums and hand out sweets to contributors.

Lee Eu-gene, a mom who mentioned she had an older youngster take the check final yr, mentioned her son sitting for the examination this yr appeared to be higher off as a result of colleges had extra in-person studying.

“He studied on this state of affairs, so it is within the mom’s coronary heart that I hope he’ll get good outcomes and fortunately increase his future,” she mentioned.

(Further reporting by Minwoo Park; Writing by Josh Smith; Modifying by Karishma Singh)

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