Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Hands Off KNUA



In 1993, The Korea National University of Arts (KNUA) was established in response to an increased demand for specialized arts education by the Korean government. KNUA started with only a school of music with 98 students. Currently about 3,200 students and 730 professors and lecturers are working together in the schools of Music; Dance; Visual Art; Film, TV & Multimedia; Drama; Korean Traditional Arts; and Inter School Division with devotion, in its entire curriculum, to various artistic endeavors. The six independent but correlative schools have become a vibrant, creative academic community, a well-developed and internationally recognized institution that has produced 473 students that have received first prize awards in both domestic and international competitions across the art specialities since 1998.

Now the Korea National University of Arts is in crisis. This March, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism did a “usual, comprehensive” audit of the university. Usually, an audit is done in two or three weeks. However this year's audit ran for more than five weeks --March 18 to April 24--with ten auditors. On May 18th at 6:00 p.m. the ministry delivered an Audit Result Report with demands to the university, with 12 items cited for improvement or reprimand and suggestion of discipline of the president and three other professors. On May 19, 2009, KNUA president, Hwang Ji-woo, resigned as an act of protest against the audit, which he called a “blitzkrieg audit.”

It is reported that among the 12 items, some seem to be infringements on the university’s institutional autonomy, and include:

Scraping the U-AT project that fuses arts, science, and technology;
reducing the theory departments;
closing down the Creation of Narrative Department; and
developing the "practical abilities" of students, instead of focusing on theories.

The adit's demands are clearly a serious suppression of the academic autonomy of the university, something unprecedented in the history of Korean university education.

We -- students, art professionals, mass media practitioners, and concerned citizen of Korea and other countries -- strongly protest this violation of institutional autonomy, which infringes upon educational rights. We demand that the government withdraw its demands related to the internal running of the university and stop interfering with the autonomy, integrity, and privileges of the Korea National University of Arts.

***PLEASE NOTE: Comments containing apostrophes and quotes may turn grey - please do not use these symbols when you sign.


Please visit the site for the petition: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/forknua/index.html

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