Youth Culture - School

Rows of desks and students.

Korean school hours run from around 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday though Friday and until noon on Saturdays. School runs all year, with a month-long break in the summer and winter. When students finish their classes, some go to private academies (학원) for an hour or two, then home for dinner, and then back to school until 10 p.m. for study hall. Why do Korean youngsters spend so much time in school? Simply put -- the college entrance exam (입학시험). During the administration of this test, parents camp out on the playground of the high school and sing and cheer for their children.

The pressure to do well on this standardized test is so great, many students get burned out. It is not uncommon for a handful of students in each classroom to sleep. Most teachers will allow it. They see it as the student's choice to fail. Some students even carry a pillow from class to class.

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