Thursday, November 10, 2011

Suneung Day

Imagine a day in your country where things literally come to a halt on an annual basis. Today was such a day in Korea.

Suneung is the Korean version of the SAT. Around here, it's commonly thought to be The Test that determines one's entire future -first one's university options, then job opportunities, and finally marriage partner. 

I had no idea how serious the ramifications of the test were. No wonder the country comes to a grinding halt as high school seniors sit for the exam:
  • the stock market opens later
  • planes are grounded
  • police are everywhere -on hand to drive students who are running late to test centers
  • motorists are asked to refrain from honking
  • bakeries and confectionery shops prepare special good-luck packages
  • churches and temples are flooded with parents praying their kids will achieve a high score -one worthy of entrance into the elite 3:  Seoul National, Korea, and Yonsei (a.k.a. the SKY universities)
This is an education-obsessed environment, and the pressure on these students to perform follows them from elementary school throughout their educational experience. It is relentless and something I witness every day.


1 comment:

  1. that is awful! i feel so bad for those poor kids. airplanes grounded? seriously?? they need to relax for heaven's sake. xoxo a.n.