North Korean Children Have to Learn Computers As Well

[imText1]In North Korea nowadays, individual-use PCs concentrated in Pyongyang and Chongjin, Shinuiju and other large-size cities have been gradually increasing. The trend has been rapidly increasing due to the propagation of computers by North Korean party organizations, the administrative committee office and middle schools.

The computerized citizen registration project by the North Korean village office was completed around the Local People’s Assembly representative elections last July.

A source from Shinuiju, North Pyongan said in a phone conversation with DailyNK on the 5th, “Provincial organizations and the village office are taking on computer-based projects. Large-city wealthy people are also acquiring computers left and right due to their children’s education.”

The new-rich class, who have made huge profits from recent trade with China, believe gradually that “The outer society cannot do anything without computers. Our children have to learn computers, too, to not get behind.”

A majority of computers provided to North Korea are Chinese and South Korean-made and have entered through official trade with North Korea, but a portion has been going through smuggling. South Korean computers, with the exception of Korean software, are permitted. North Korea uses North Korean word processors, such as “Dangun” and “Changduk.”

A portion of the upper-class use the new model computers smuggled from China, but a majority use secondhand Pentium IV-processor or below imported from China. In North Korea’s Shinuiju, a computer (Pentium II) which includes a used CTR monitor is 100~120 dollars and a computer which includes LCD monitor is 300 dollars. The offering price for a used laptop is around 300 dollars.

He said, “People cannot connect to the internet via computers, but can use most programs set up on computers. The resident registration computerization project has been completed and in Pyongyang, networks between libraries are in operation.”

North Korea is the single country in the world that is not connected to an internet cable network. North Korea, while being endowed with the national domain suffix, “kp”, does not operate a domain. People cannot use internet, but can use software programs set up on individual computers such as MS-Word, Excel, and Photoshop.

In North Korea, after 2000, the import of used and new computers from China, Japan, and South Korea through individuals and companies increased dramatically. Around 2001, around 2,000 Samsung, LG and TriGem Computer were provided to North Korea’s main colleges such as Kim Il Sung University and Kim Chaek University of Technology.

Mr. Kim said, “Chosun (North Korea) people prefer LCD monitors, not CTR monitors. Computers that have been coming in North Korea are mostly made in China and South Korean computers such as Samsung, LG, and TriGem Computer have been widely distributed as well.”

Electronic Publications Service using Domestic Network Possible

North Korea prohibits internet, so computer education mostly focused on program usage are taught in colleges and high schools. In schools for the gifted and college computer majors nationwide, a new generation of software developers is being nurtured.

Major organizations in the area of software development are Chosun (North Korea) Computer Center (KCC), Pyongyang Program Center, and the Academy of Sciences.

Since 2002, North Korea has created a network connecting the libraries of Grand People’s Study House, Kim Il Sung University, and Kim Chaek University of Technology. The network has been expanded throughout Pyongyang and the provinces. Currently, a few high officials in Pyongyang can use reportedly the Grand People’s Study House’s electronic publications service at home.

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