As Korea-wide affair taints national college entrance exams, students play defense

A paper-scoring system under attack in South Korea this week put increasing pressure on the 40,000 students sitting for this year’s national college entrance exams, which began on Monday in the country’s southern cities of Cheongju and Ulsan. Thousands took to the streets over the weekend, condemning the standardized tests for limiting their possibilities of success. “We have lost the right to have choices for our lives,” said 20-year-old Lee Duk-hyun, who works at a bookstore selling memorabilia to mark the exam.

Virus infections rose by 50 percent compared with the previous year’s levels as scores rose, prompting warnings from authorities that students who took the exams without the use of online testing centers risk adverse health effects. This year’s tests took place amid a countrywide crackdown on cheating, which had risen in recent years.

On Sunday, police in Ulsan detained a 73-year-old business executive on suspicion of falsifying results at a company that ran an online test center. A week earlier, a mother was arrested for encouraging her son to cheat online. Other allegations over possible Internet hacking and bribery have also emerged.

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