An appalling case in which a mother was killed by her 18-year-old son after she allegedly beat him with a golf club to get better school grades has exposed the dark side of South Korea's highly achievement-oriented and competitive education system.
Seoul police on Thursday sought an arrest warrant for the high school student suspected of murdering his mother in March and leaving her body to rot for months in their house.
According to local media reports, the teenager told police investigators that he stabbed his mother in the neck in fear of being caught for faking a document to show he came 62nd among some 700,000 high school seniors in a national test when he actually ranked about 4,000th.
He also said that his mother, who was never satisfied with his grades, had continuously pressured and beaten him to grab first place in the country's college entrance exam so he could enter the country's most prestigious university.
In a country where nearly 80 percent of high school graduates advance to college, competition to gain admission into renowned universities is extremely high as it is largely believed as key to securing a good job in the future.
And the high-pressure nature of the country's education system is a burden not only to students but also to their parents wishing for their children's success through academic achievements.
The recent incident is not the first time that the country has witnessed tragedies caused by conflicts between pushy parents and children.
A college student killed his father in October 2009 after being scolded for poor grades, and left the body in their house to decompose; a middle school student killed his entire family by setting his house ablaze in October last year out of resentment towards his pushy father.
My mother keeps telling me that I should not fall behind at school, otherwise I'll not be able to enter my dream college," said 17-year-old Kim So-hui, who said she studies more than 12 hours a day including her time spent in school.
"There is nothing I can do about it. I'm a student in South Korea, and I'm sure that every student in the country hears the same thing from their parents."