Hanlim Arts High, one of South Korea’s most famous arts high schools, is at high risk of being shut down. Famous alumni from the school include SHINee‘s Taemin, WINNER‘s Mino, TWICE‘s Dahyun, Chaeyoung and Tzuyu, Somi, ASTRO‘s Cha Eunwoo, ITZY‘s Chaeryeong and Ryujin and more.
According to news reports, a post titled “Save the students and teachers of Hanlim Arts High and Hanlim Elementary, Middle and Practical High” was uploaded onto Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education‘s petitions board.
Hanlim Arts High is a specialized arts high school that provides unique majors such as artistes major, musical major, practical music major, fashion modeling major, video production major and more. Students were able to graduate with a high school diploma without sitting for the GEDs and provides students with the same high school qualifications as regular schools.
However, due to a change in educational laws in 2007, private institutions are now unable to provide educational qualifications. This is a change made so as to make the education system more transparent. Hence, if Hanlim Arts High does not make the change legally from a private institution to one that is recognized by the government, they will only be able to operate until all its current students have graduated. They will be unable to accept new students in the meantime.
Hanlim Arts High was already unable to accept a new batch of freshmen in 2021 and they have been operating with only juniors and seniors currently.
With the Hanlim Arts High Chairman’s death recently, the teachers had been worried about the school shutting down due to the laws. They decided to trust the school executives and continued to work despite the pay being 30% less than the national average for teachers. In subsequent months, a huge portion of teachers had left the school while a portion has been placed on unpaid leave. Others accepted a wage cut.
A petitioner explained that the school’s executives refuse to make the change as it would expose their operations to the public. According to them, the school’s executives are placing personal profit and gain above the best interests of the school. They are hence raising the petition to the Office of Education in hopes that the office can exert some pressure on the executives for the sake of the students and staff.
A representative from the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education commented that the conversion of Hanlim Arts High to a governmentally recognized institute would be tough for now as there are some issues of seizure of property involved that has to be resolved before the government can help convert the school.