Elementary school in North Korea schools reopen
Elementary school in North Korea. Image: DPRK Today

North Korea’s education ministry has announced that schools will reopen on Apr. 17, backtracking on an Apr. 3 decision to keep schools closed until the end of the month, Daily NK has learned. 

The decision to reopen schools was handed down on Apr. 10 “due to concerns expressed by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un,” a Daily NK source in the country said on Apr. 13. 

Kim reportedly expressed concern that moving the country’s students to online classes would be too burdensome given the “poor state” of the country’s intranet and suggested that continuing to delay the start of school could create “major gaps” in educating the country’s children. 

Kim’s comments effectively reversed the education ministry’s Apr. 3 order to delay the opening of schools until late April. 

The education ministry still reportedly plans to hold extra classes during the summer break in July and August to make up for the extended period of school closures.

On Apr. 17, all students from second grade elementary school and above will take part in “pledges” to honor Kim Il Sung’s birthday (which falls on Apr. 15). Students will attend classes in the morning before heading home. 

Kim Jong Un also reportedly ordered the education ministry to improve the country’s intranet for educational purposes, an order that appears connected with decisions made by the Supreme People’s Assembly on Sunday to improve the country’s online education system and increase the budget for education in the country. 

*Translated by Violet Kim

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