Launch of SM Entertainment’s ‘Idol School’ SM universe training plan.

SM Entertainment will launch a private “idol school” in the prestigious neighborhood of Daechi-dong in Gangnam, which is notorious for its competitive schools and for having hundreds of academies and private afterschool programs.

According to a news report on March 14, SM Entertainment will open its doors to the label’s private “idol school” on March 15.

The news report states that the school will target High Schoolers who will forego their school studies in favor of debuting in the entertainment industry. According to the report, the school will offer a three-year program, and each semester will cost its students up to ₩10.0 million KRW (about $7,710 USD).

It’s being reported that SM Entertainment has also joined hands with model agency ESTEEM to further its curriculum. During the three years, students will be able to learn how to produce music and offers vocal, dance, modeling, and acting classes.

An SM Universe representative reportedly confirmed that the school would be mainly targeting High School dropouts, stating that due to the rigors of its curriculum, it would be difficult for students to attend school and the academy.

GED courses will be given to students at the beginning of their first semesters for three hours a day. Because there are lessons from the morning to the afternoon, it will be difficult for students to keep up with their school work and so we are targeting students who have dropped out.

— SM Universe

Netizens couldn’t help but express skepticism to the news, while others went as far as claiming the school was exploitative. Some netizens noted that it seemed as if the label was trying to pass off the expenses incurred by trainees to the trainees themselves.

  • “Sigh, they are literally selling children a dream.”
  • “I think it sucks that the students need to drop out of school.”
  • “I understand children who are tempted by pretty and glamorous things, but I really don’t understand the parents who send their children there.”
  • “Wow, it really is expensive. If you are a trainee, it would be free. Is it because it’s hard to become a trainee of a large label?”
  • “Wow, a label like SM Entertainment wouldn’t charge their idols the costs incurred while training, but I guess they are making money through this instead.”
  • “It’s expensive AF.”
  • “Wow, it really is expensive, and they are asking students to drop out of school. I don’t think this is right.”
  • “They are charging money to become a trainee, LOL.

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