SEOUL, March 29 (Korea Bizwire) – North Korea will fully implement a new 12-year compulsory education system, a North Korean paper reported Wednesday, three days ahead of the start of a new semester in the communist country.
“The 12-year obligatory school system will be enforced on a full scale this year,” the Rodong Sinmun, a daily of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party, said in a commentary titled “Proud Achievements That Party’s Love for Future Generation and Emphasis on Education Have Made.”
The North Korean parliament approved the 12-year system during its session in September 2012, with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un present. But its implementation has been put off so far due apparently to a lack of resources.
Currently, North Korean students are required to spend 11 years in school — one year in kindergarten, four years in elementary school and six years in secondary school.
The new system consists of one year in kindergarten, five years in elementary school, three years in lower secondary school and another three years in higher secondary school.
In 2014, the North announced that it would introduce the 12-year system from a semester that begins in April.
In January last year, however, Chosun Sinbo, a newspaper of a Tokyo-based organization of pro-Pyongyang Korean residents in Japan reported that the North would put the new system into practice from April 1, citing a ranking North Korean education official.
“Kim Jong-un is deeply interested in the new education system in order to nurture a future group loyal to him,” said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul.