A group of South Korean students recently sued the Government for millions of dollars in damages because their teachers ended a life-changing exam 90 seconds earlier than they should have.
The Suneung, South Korea’s college admission exam, is notoriously long and difficult, and its implications are literally life-changing. Not only do the results of the Suneung determine students’ college placements, but also their career options and relationships, so it’s no wonder that everyone, from the students and their families to the South Korean government takes the Suneung very seriously. During the 8-hour exam, South Korea closes its air space and delays the opening of the stock market to help students concentrate. So when a teacher recently ended the exam 90 seconds early, it was a very big deal with serious legal consequences.
The incident occurred at a test site in the capital Seoul, at the end of the first stage of the Suneung exam, in Korea. Apparently, the bell rang 90 seconds earlier than it should have, and supervisors took students’ papers away despite their protests. However, the faculty acknowledged the mistake before the beginning of the following exam and tried to fix it by giving the one and a half minutes back during the lunch break. Unfortunately, students were only allowed to mark blank columns left on their papers, not change any of their existing answers.
The unusual incident was reportedly so traumatic for some of the students that they could no longer concentrate for the rest of the Suneung, and some even gave up completely and left the testing facility. On Tuesday, 39 of the students filed a lawsuit against the South Korean government, asking for 20 million won ($15,400) in compensation for each of them, the estimated cost of a year spent studying for the next Suneung.