North Eyeing Education System Reform

North Korea is reportedly planning to restructure its education system via the upcoming Supreme People’s Assembly session, bringing in an eleven-year system of mandatory education involving five years of elementary school, three years of middle school and then three years of high school.

“The compulsory education system is going to be partially revised by the Supreme People’s Assembly session scheduled for the 25th,” a source from Yangkang Province revealed to Daily NK on the 16th. “The period spent in elementary school is to be extended by one year, and then today’s middle school process is to be divided up into three years each of middle and high school.”

Hitherto, North Korean education has involved a two year period of kindergarten divided into lower and upper class, but only upper class has been compulsory. It is this ‘upper class’ that is to be added to the existing elementary school to create a five-year elementary school structure, the source claimed.

In addition, the existing six-year middle school is to be divided into two periods of three years each. The names under consideration for the new types of school are ‘lower middle school’ and ‘upper middle school’ or ‘middle school’ and ‘high school’; however, the former is more likely because it would mirror the Chinese system rather than that of South Korea.

It is unclear whether and to what extent this will affect what goes on in the classroom itself, but it is unlikely to portend the wholesale elimination of Kim Il Sung-Kim Jong Il revolutionary history class, which currently swallows up a disproportionate amount of weekly schooling for many students.

“If we were really serious about changing the education system in our country, the first thing we would have to do is cut down radically on ‘revolutionary history’ class,” the source mused. “We’d also have to add computer science and foreign languages or basic economics; things that help people to survive.”

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