New SM Institute to meet educational needs of idols


On 9 September 2020, SM Entertainment announced that they’ve established SM Institute, a new school for current and aspiring artistes with busy schedules. The school will launch a global arts education programme, starting in March 2021, that focuses on catering to their artistes’ educational needs without compromising on their training and work.

SM Institute - Logo
SM Institute’s logo
Image adapted from: SM Entertainment Group 


SM Institute for current and future artistes


While the school seems to be primarily for SM’s trainees and current artistes, the company has indicated that it will be open to anyone who wants to pursue a career in the entertainment industry.

The school will be open to both Korean and international students as they will be conducting the programme in multiple languages – Korean, English, Chinese, and Japanese. SM Institute’s first location will be at Dongnang Arts Foundation in Namsan, Seoul, and they have plans to open centres in cities around the world in the future. 

SM Institute - Dongnang Arts Foundation’s Namsan Arts Centre
Dongnang Arts Foundation’s Namsan Arts Centre in Seoul
Image adapted from: 서울특별시 


Customisable curriculum using technology


SM Institute boasts a customisable curriculum to cater to their students’ needs. It will include self-paced learning and can be adapted to suit the career paths of students, whether it be that of an idol, dancer or actor. 

Additionally, students will stand to gain real-world, practical experience through projects that are integrated into the curriculum. 

SM Institute plans to use technology – such as a learning portal and other assessment tools – for remote learning. This allows celebrities, who are often on tour or travelling between locations for work, to continue attending classes and complete assignments while away. 

SM Institute - Still from introductory video
Screencap from SM Institute’s intro video
Image adapted from: SM Institute 


Rationale behind the birth of SM Institute


As one of the biggest entertainment companies in Korea, SM Entertainment has groomed plenty of successful K-pop idols such as EXO and Red Velvet. Many of them start training from young and eventually give up their studies due to conflicting schedules.

SM Institute - SM Entertainment & Jongro Haneul Education's partnership
Press conference in 2016 on SM’s partnership with Jongro Haneul Education
Image credit: 스포츠투데이  

SM concluded that to have more autonomy over their artistes’ education, they would need to start their own school. In 2016, the company partnered with Jongro Haneul Education, a famous hakwon (after school academy) and education specialist in Korea, to work on establishing SM Institute. 

SM Institute - ESteem Models
Models from ESteem
Image adapted from: ESteem 

Models under SM’s affiliate company, ESteem, would be joining the school as well. These individuals similarly have very hectic schedules and would benefit from flexibility in education. 


Applications for SM Institute opens in October 2020


The first batch of SM Institute students are set to start in March 2021. For all interested students out there, do get ready as applications will be opening in October 2020. The company will be releasing more details soon, so keep your eyes peeled.

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Cover image adapted from: Pinterest