Ewha's tuition last year was the highest among all Korean universities, according to a report issued by the Center for Educational Information Disclosure, but students say the services they get do not measure up to the high cost. Students majoring in music and arts, who pay the highest tuition among all majors, are expressing complaints about the poor contions and lack of equipment in studios and practice rooms. Students in both majors paid 10,410,000 won for the two semesters in 2008.
According to Kim hae-in (Keyboard Instruments, 3), the problem is worse in the summer, when there is no air conditioning in practice rooms.
"Since we do not have those facilities, we need to open up the doors during summer. Then, the noise from one room easily flows into other rooms," said Kim.
But a staff member of the music department says even if air coniditioning facilities were installed, because the practice rooms are so small that the noise from those machines would disturb students' practices anyway.
Inadequate sound-proofing is one of the many complaints. The sound-proofing system of the Music Building was installed in 1981 when the building was built.
"The school needs to install additional acoustic insulation," said Cheon Se-Kyung (Orchestral Instruments, 2). "The sound of my instrument resounds in the room too much."
Meanwhile, Kim Da-yae, the student president of the College of Music said that the student council and the dean of the college have planned a meeting on the issue of student welfare. Kim said that the student council will try hard to better the practice environment.
Students of the fine arts department are also calling for more attention in their studio conditions. They say that studio and locker space is limited and that equipment like easels and looms are in poor condition.
"I have studied at Ewha for five years now, but I haven't seen any increase in the number of lockers," said another student.
A staff member in the arts department agreed that it is difficult to accommodate all the work and materials of students in Arts & Design Building A. But she said that the lack of space is the problem all around Ewha.
"We are trying to negotiate with the school. But students' cooperation in storing their belongings properly is also necessary," said the staff.
"There are simply not enough usable tools in this school," said Park Min-hee (Painting, 4). "It is such a pathetic situation that we need to spend extra money of our own to buy basic materials. Our tuition should cover these since we pay extra to take these studio classes."
But the fine arts department maintains that it provides the necessary number of easels and looms for classes every semester.
Many concern that the insufficient support for the arts majors may affect Ewha's reputation for producing many distinguished women artists in Korea. According to Cho A-ra ('07, Sculpture), who is now working as an artist, says that a pleasant working environment is important for creating high-quality art pieces. "The school should be able to produce great artists," said Cho.