Six out of 10 teenage entertainers do not attend school regularly, a survey showed Monday, sparking worries over the K-pop industry‘s violation of the school-age children’s right to learn.
According to a 2016 report on pop culture industry submitted by Korea Creative Content Agency to Rep. Kim Byung-wook of the Democratic Party, only 35.3 percent of the entertainers aged under 19 went to school every day despite their work schedule.
Some 47 percent of them went to school two to three times a week and 5.9 percent went to school once or twice a month when they were working. Nearly 12 percent said they barely went to school, the report showed.
The local law stipulates that the teenage entertainers’ right to learn must be included when agencies sign contracts with them.
But only 20 percent of the agencies added the teenage entertainer’s duty to attend school to the terms and conditions of the contract. Nearly 53 percent of their agencies did not even check whether the teenage entertainers went to schools.
The teenagers were required to work late at night without any prior request, the report showed. Some 15 percent of the agencies said they were not seeking an agreement from the teenagers when they asked them to work at night.
For trainees, the working conditions were poorer. Some 23.5 percent of them did not sign a written contract with agencies. It took an average of one year and nine months for would-be actors and actresses to debut and two years and seven months for aspiring singers. Most of the agencies kicked out the trainees when they could not pass a monthly test.
“There is an explosive increase in the number of teenage entertainers, but protecting their rights such as the right to learn is insufficient. The government should lay out standardized guidelines,” said Rep. Kim.