Ministry of Justice under fire for its national bar exam COVID-19 prevention measures
Updated: 2021-01-05 13:14:12 KST
For the next few days starting Tuesday, 35-hundred law school students in South Korea will sit the 10th national bar exam.
But students have another major concern besides the marathon four-day test.
A potential COVID-19 outbreak.
"Seoul National University is one of the 25 venues that's hosting the national bar exam.
Almost 180 students will take the exam here, with up to 40 students in each classroom."
The students will be in the same room for almost 9 hours each day.
The Ministry of Justice increased the number of test centers and enforced social distancing measuresbut received criticism for not doing more.
"The prevention measures suggested by the Ministry of Justice are too weak. Students taking the test under laxed guidelines infringes on the test taker's rights and is a risk to their health."
The measures also prevent confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients from taking the test. In response, lawyers last month filed a constitutional appeal.
"People are only allowed to take the bar exam five times in five years. So if people are prohibited from taking the test due to COVID-19, some may lose their last chance to become a lawyer."
She also claims that with this ban in place, some may even lie about having symptoms which could lead to cluster infections.
The constitutional court on Monday upheld the request to allow COVID-19-infected students or those with symptoms to take the exam.
As of Tuesday, there were no confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients among the test takers.
But many legal professionals point out that the Ministry of Justice doesn't appear to have sufficient measures in place to respond to a COVID-19 patient should one emerge in the upcoming days.
Kim Yeon-seung, Arirang News