Securing 1.1 billion won for this year’s National Scholarship of Excellence for outstanding students in the fields of art, music and physical education, Korea Student Aid Foundation (KOSAF) will give approximately 8 million won to 140 students in the concerned areas of study.
Such improvement is noteworthy in that it is the first time students majoring in art, music and physical education will receive financial support with acknowledgement for their strong academic performances.
Formerly, only the National Science & Engineering and Humanities Scholarship types existed. Students in the fields of art, music and physical education could not even apply for the scholarship because they did not fit into any of the categories.
The problem of excluding arts and physical education majors from the National Scholarship of Excellence arose when a parent of those students attempted to apply for the scholarship. The parent found out that his child was disqualified for the scholarship only because she is a student from the arts college. Finding the discrimination unfair, the parent filed a petition against the National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK).
The NHRCK made a judgment that the current system of the National Scholarship of Excellence violates the right of equality, acknowledging the seriousness of the discrimination issue in academic fields. The method of administration and distribution of scholarships went against its own purpose which is to help support any students for the opportunity to pursue study, regardless of financial status. Therefore, the petition was granted and a new category for students in the fields of art, music and physical education will be newly added to the National Scholarship of Excellence.
Students in the regarding fields welcome the change. They are showing positive attitudes as they believe that the change is an evidence that proves the society is starting to realize the significance of the art field.
“I think it is great that students from the arts department can now receive the National Scholarship,” said Hwang Bo-ram, a sophomore majoring in Ceramic Arts. “To be honest, Korea does not sufficiently support students and professionals in the art field. I look forward to the extension of National Scholarship to become a starting point to increase national support for students in the field of arts.”
Further information regarding the plan of operation will be announced by the KOSAF soon.
“At the moment, we are still making plans of when and how to change our system,” said Kim Hyo-jin, an offical from the Scholarship of Excellence Department at the KOSAF. “We will soon implement the plan and notify students through our Web site.”