Science and Technology Education in North Korea Enters the 21st Century

in Program

North Korea is moving ahead with a comprehensive reform of its education system that puts science and technology at its center. Plans were approved at a cabinet meeting over the weekend and follow a call by Kim Jong Un in September to improve the level of the nation’s education.

At the weekend meeting, education officials were told by Vice-Premier Jon Kwang Ho to “brace themselves to put the level of the country’s education on the most developed level as soon as possible,” KCNA reported on Monday, October 21.[1]

The meeting follows a Rodong Sinmun editorial on October 7 that highlighted the vital role that science and technology plays in strengthening North Korea’s economy and underlined the importance of teachers in fostering new generations of engineers. The editorial noted that, “At various sectors in the society, the demand for talents to lead the new era is dramatically increasing…Teachers of our country are working hard to play their role to realize the party’s goal to…turn the country into one with strong talents.”[2]

The editorial, which was to mark “World Teachers’ Day,” comes as North Korea appears to be reforming its secondary and higher education systems for science and technology. The reform puts more emphasis on identifying, capturing and fostering talent at a younger age. The new system has created 11 new secondary schools of information technology, one in each province, according to a September 3 Rodong Sinmun report.[3] The newspaper also said 37 universities had established 85 new departments and corresponding courses on subjects including information security, robotics and engineering.

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