I think I will dedicate this to commenter kjeff, who argued that most Koreans could understand Chinese characters, while I argued that most could not.
Sungkyunkwan University on Monday released the results of a test taken last week by 384 freshmen in a basic writing course. The results show that 78 students or 20 percent of the class could not write their names in Chinese. Some 83 percent of the class (317 students) could not write their mother’s name in Chinese, and 77 percent (295 students) were unable to write their father’s name in Chinese.
Few students were able to properly write common Chinese words. Only five students could write the Chinese characters for “lectures” (“gangeui” in Korean) and only nine could properly write the word “encyclopedia” (“baekgwasajeon” in Korean). In Korean both words are composed of Chinese characters.
Of course, Koreans do not use Chinese characters in their daily life, so it is no wonder they cannot understand them. Instead of using Chinese characters, most ordinary Korean writing only needs hangul, the native system of writing.