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2017-11-17 16:34
Delaying college entrance test shows priority on safety

Following a 5.4-magnitude quake in Pohang Wednesday, the education ministry announced it will postpone the College Scholastic Aptitude Test (CSAT), which had been scheduled for Thursday. The test has been pushed back by one week to Nov. 23.

It is the first time in the 24 years of the national college entrance exam for it to be delayed. As a result, other college admission procedures, including essay tests, have been pushed back by one week. The test results will come out a week later than scheduled, on Dec. 12.

The quake was the second-strongest since Korea started to track tremors in 1978, damaging more than 1,000 homes in the region. Despite the powerful quake, the education ministry had initially announced the CSAT would take place as usual because any changes in the test schedule could lead to more confusion.

Some media reports underlined that President Moon Jae-in made the final decision to delay the test. Upon the President’s order, Minister of the Interior and Safety Kim Boo-kyum checked the CSAT sites in Pohang area and found some sites were unfit for the test to take place. Some were severely damaged and the possibility of aftershocks remained. President Moon ultimately decided to accept Kim’s suggestion to delay the exam. “I understand the frustration of students and parents,” the President tweeted. “I want to thank them for considering the difficulties of test takers in the Pohang region.”

The unprecedented CSAT delay has aroused panic among some students and parents. But the government did well to push it back since the safety of students comes first. There are about 6,000 CSAT takers in the Pohang region. “It is a disadvantage to have to take the test in broken buildings,” Kim said in a Facebook post. No student should have to worry about their safety while taking the all-important exam for entering university which has been the focus of their entire high school careers.

Many are still angry with the government’s lax response to unforeseen disasters, such as the Sewol ferry sinking in 2014. The government should always place top priority on public safety.

The authorities should properly manage admissions procedures from now on, and in particular ensure there are no test leaks. We wish all test-takers the best of luck.


 

 

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