Yoo passes high school qualification exam
A 10-year-old boy has passed the 2012 high school graduation exam, becoming the youngest test-taker to pass the test.
Yoo Seung-won, living in Guri, east of Seoul, had his name posted on Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education’s list of those who passed the exam, Friday.
Yoo’s mother was overjoyed as she had to struggle against regulations that had hindered her son’s academic progress.
When her son had stayed in Okcheon, North Chungcheong Province, with his grandparents, the Daejeon Metropolitan Office of Education had kept the minimum age for test-takers of the middle school entrance exam at 12, which disqualified him from taking the test.
Yoo’s mother filed a suit with the Daejeon District Court in April last year, seeking an injunction to lift or ease the age requirement.
“It’s unfair that the middle school entrance exam has an age limit of 12 years of age,” she said.
Her son, born in August 2001, had taken a couple of years off from school since fourth grade for personal reasons, but had wished to attend middle school with his peers.
The suit was accepted and Yoo passed the middle school entrance exam in May 2011, at age nine. In August the same year, he passed the high school equivalent.
His mother won in the first trial last October. She is waiting for a decision in a higher court which is to conclude the case on May 24.
“It was a difficult journey, fighting against regulations that are not compatible with the legal system,” said Yoo’s mother. “I cannot express how happy I am that my son passed the exam,” she said.
She added that she hopes the legal dispute will be successfully concluded.
Concerning Yoo’s remarkable achievements in passing the exams, she said there was nothing special about his studying habits.
“He didn’t have any private tutoring and he wasn’t confined to studying either,” said his mother. “However, he did receive a lot of help from his older sister who is currently attending graduate school after completing university through the qualification exam.”
Yoo’s mother also said that since both she and Yoo’s father work, her son had stayed with his grandparents.
“I think his grandparents’ love and care helped him to get through the difficult process,” she said.
She also mentioned the situation in which the number of students who have stopped attending school has reached 60,000 to 70,000 in the nation.
“I hope that Seung-won’s case will help eliminate prejudice that people have toward students in a similar situation,” she said, adding, “It would be greatly rewarding if Seung-won could give hope to them and become a role model.”