In this winter vacation, The Sookmyung Times (SMT) went to Paris as part of Global Explore. Through visiting orgazations of public opinion and universities of France, we had an opportunity to compare them with Korean organizations and universities and think deeply about how to apply the advantage of theirs in Korea. At first, SMT will introduce EFAP.
France has a different recognition of university. The universities of France are classified as national and private universities. National universities are usually the same as the universities of Korea, but the private one is for professional education. L’école des métiers de la communication (EFAP) is also the private university of Communication. EFAP is divided in to EFJ, EMP, Icart Photo, and Icart. EFJ is a progress to learn about Journalism, EMP is a school of management, Icart Photo is a program to learn photography, and Icart is the first Art Business school of Art in France. EFAP trains students with the professional education process which includes an internship program, in contrast with the course of study in Korea which places emphasis on the theory of education. In their first year, they study cultural and professional knowledge, but after that they use their knowledge through regular practical work such as public relations, advertising, marketing, or press. Also, every year in EFAP, students can have a chance of internship. Finally, their fourth year is for professional immersion, and after doing a full time internship in addition to workshops directed by
senior managers and various professionals, they graduate the school. However, the courses are so strict that most students are dropped at the end of the lecture. It shows a significant gap with the passing system of Korea that students can pass the course with comparative ease, but EFAP gives other chances to students who have failed through joining other courses or doing workshops.
Media School in Korea
Also, the School of Communication & Media of SMU provides diverse education for students, such as Media Writing, Video Production, Internet Communication, Communication theories, and Photo Journalism. However, unlike universities in France, SMU handles theories more than practical training. Based on 2012-1 class schedule, there are 19 subjects and only 4 of them are practical training education which includes a theory lesson. Moreover, the major is not subdivided as much as in France, so they have a little problem in subjects. There are three majors in the School of Communication & Media at SMU: major in entertainment, major in media journalism, and major in Image contents. However, classes are not distributed equally for each major, so students’ options are limited. Also, the opportunity to work at an internship is provided only for specific students. Only 3~4th grade students can apply for internships, and students who get a high grade gain opportunities. This is not unique to SMU, but many other schools in Korea face to these problems, too.
Spread SMU’s Wings
Of course, it is early to conclude that the field curriculum of France is superior to Korea’s education, and therefore we can’t simply say that Korea’s curriculum focused on theory is a problem. It’s because the most important and fundamental thing for the field is theory. Korea’s media education, of which theory comprises the majority, does have its own strengths. For example, theory can give
students more various and deep thoughts, and it enable them to apply this learning to a wide area more flexibly. However, despite this strength, it can be a problem that field and theory curriculum is not balanced in Korean media education. Of course, as the society needs the students’ real working level, most universities are adding a field curriculum. However there are still a lot of holes both in quantity and quality. For example, EFAP provides not only internship programs, but also
very real contents even during class. Most professors are in current posts, so their classes are more vivid and related with reality, not just in books. Professors use their real examples for explanation of theories. However in Korea, the opportunities for students to meet a person who is in a current post are very limited except for rare special lectures.
Although we can’t say field education is all of media study, the field is more essential and important in this area than in other various areas. After visiting EFAP, fortunately SMT can feel SMU’s School of Communication & Media have a bright vision when compared with France, including EFAP. However we know the fact that there are some holes, too. To have better competitiveness, SMU and other Korean institutions with media education need to rethink the present situation and if need be, should apply the better ways of other countries. We live in the world where change is ordinary. To survive in this world, how about taking change more smartly?