More and more South Korean young people are opting for vocational training as unemployment rates soar for college grads. Meg Teckman reports.
When your future rests on the outcome of an annual college entrance exam, the pressure is on. Academically obsessed South Korea takes no chances when it comes to encouraging students on test day. Families and classmates cheered on students as they enter test centers on Thursday morning, the country's stock market opened late to reduce traffic...and flights were even suspended for a short while to reduce noise. But even with all this support, Korean graduates are still finding it hard to get work after university. The unemployment rate for under-30s is double that of the overall jobless rate. So some young people are taking a less traditional path: vocational schools and community colleges. Students like Jang Dong-Hae, who left university during his first year to enter a nursing program. (SOUNDBITE) (Korean) 25-YEAR-OLD COMMUNITY COLLEGE STUDENT, JANG DONG-HAE, SAYING: "My friends are now delaying graduation to stay enrolled until they find a job. I think I've made a right decision because I can get a job after graduation with the license." And he's not alone. Admission to vocational schools has been on the rise as good exam scores and prestigious university placements are no longer the only guarantees of a career.