The DPRK is making efforts to implement education and talent strategies based on its own specific conditions.
Enforcement of universal 12-year compulsory education
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) once expressed its opinion that one-year extension of schooling would lead to more than a 9% increase of economic growth.
The DPRK, which had put in force the universal 11-year compulsory education since the 1970s, adopted the law on enforcing the universal 12-year compulsory education in September Juche 101 (2012).
In line with this, it enforced one-year preschool education, 5-year primary school education and 6-year junior and senior middle school education. All of them were free of charge.
In fact, it was not an easy job for the DPRK to prolong the period of education one year more as it had to push ahead with socialist construction in the face of the hostile forces’ sanctions and pressure. To this end, the country had to increase expenditure for the education sector in the State budget, fill up the shortage of teachers and work out the contents and methods of education according to a new compulsory education system.
Thanks to the consistent policy of the Workers’ Party of Korea which regards education as the most important of the national affairs, the new teaching programs began to be implemented from Juche 103 (2014) and came into effect in a comprehensive way from Juche 106 (2017).
Classrooms of schools at all levels have been put on a multifunctional basis and a radical improvement has been brought about in the contents and methods of education so as to train innovative talents. The education sector has created VR and AR technologies, education forecasting and evaluation technologies, etc. and made big strides in research and introduction of such a modern teaching method as STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art Mathematics) education.
School systems and curricula of general secondary education that suit the economic and geographical features in relevant regions have been further developed as required by the developing times and reality. Technical senior middle schools were established in Juche 105 (2016) to bring up talented personnel in the sectors of metal, coal, chemistry, electricity, fishery, agriculture, fruit farming, animal husbandry, IT and mining industry, and their number is on the steady increase.
The enforcement of the universal 12-year compulsory education made it possible for the country to further intensify primary and secondary education so as to help students consolidate their basic knowledge.
As a result, universities produced larger numbers of competent personnel, rendering great services to stepping up the work for making all the people well-versed in science and technology by raising the level of their overall knowledge.
Making all the people well-versed in science and technology
The DPRK is launching a campaign for preparing all the members of society as intelligent workers with the intellectual level of a university graduate, and as the developers of science and technology. Its aim is to make all the members of society well-versed in science and technology.
Distance education at State expense takes a lion’s share in this campaign.
The first lecture given by Kim Chaek University of Technology online in October Juche 99 (2010) to 40 workers of the Hwanghae Iron and Steel Complex marked the beginning of distance education in the DPRK. Since then, Kim Il Sung University, Kim Hyong Jik University of Education, Pyongyang University of Medical Sciences, Pyongyang University of Architecture, Hamhung University of Chemical Industry and other tens of universities throughout the country have established a well-knit system for distance education. About 100,000 officials and other working people have been enrolled there to learn major subjects of higher education according to their choice. In particular, the number of students is on the steady increase since the setup of education system based on the mobile communications network.
Those who wish to be enrolled at distance education courses have different jobs with each other. Under such circumstances, the items of major and the number of relevant subjects are on the increase every year. Graduates from distance education courses are winning their fame as inventors and persons with academic degrees.
The Third Session of the 14th Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK held in April this year adopted the law on online education.
The law laid a legal foundation for vigorously promoting the development of online education in the country, and it made it possible to make a big stride in preparing all the working people into intelligent workers possessed of advanced scientific and technological knowledge.
A nationwide sci-tech dissemination network was established centring on the Sci-Tech Complex, and sci-tech learning spaces have been set up in regions, sectors and units.
Since its inauguration, the complex has provided information services to over 210 million persons and actively disseminated sci-tech achievements and experience gained in agriculture, fishery, forestry science and other sectors through sci-tech spread centres.
At present, online lecture rooms and sci-tech learning spaces have been established in all industrial establishments, cooperative farms and other units across the country, which make it possible for working people to acquire advanced sci-tech knowledge through networks at any time and in any place.
Nationwide interest and social assistance
The DPRK is boosting nationwide interest in and social support for the education sector, under the slogans “Let us entrust our future to education!” and “Let us make our education into one that can take charge of our future!”
The Third Plenary Meeting of the Seventh WPK Central Committee held in April Juche 107 (2018) discussed the issue of bringing about a revolutionary turn in science and education. Several other meetings stressed the need to establish in a thoroughgoing way a habit of giving priority to education throughout society on various occasions.
A typical example is the Third Session of the 14th SPA held in 2020, which adopted a resolution on increasing the State budgetary expenditure on the education sector as against the previous year.
The country encourages all sectors and units to positively render material and moral assistance to the education sector in every March and October, school-supporting months.
The High-Tech Development Centre of Kim Il Sung University, the Mirae Sci-Tech Centre of Kim Chaek University of Technology and apartment houses for lecturers have been built in Ryomyong Street and Mirae Scientists Street amid the great interest of the country.
Such nationwide interest in and social assistance for education give strong impetus to its development. The university students were awarded the prizes of the International Grand Master of Memory in the 28th World Memory Championships held in 2019 and took the first place in the country standings. This year alone, students from Kim Il Sung University and Kim Chaek University of Technology proved successful in the Codechef contest, an international internet programming contest.
Today, the whole country and the whole society are seething with high enthusiasm for supporting education that promotes the development of the country and the nation.
A brighter and promising future of the DPRK is guaranteed by education.