Cradle to Grave Indoctrination in Revolutionary History

Daily NK
Park Choel Yong

Forced Memorization of Kim Family History Ruining Student Potential

In the past, the greatest pleasure of North Korean university professors was meeting students whose abilities were superior to their own. However, these professors say new generations of students cannot be properly educated and their academic ability is declining because they are forced to memorize the revolutionary history of the Kim family. North Korean preschoolers are two through six years old.

Compulsory education consists of four years in elementary school and six in middle school, followed by an optional four year university degree. During the important middle school period when student development could be the greatest, students are instead directed to devote their efforts to rote memorization of North Korean revolutionary history. No exceptions are allowed even for gifted students.

The most important subject is Revolutionary History

In every province and city, there is “The 1st Middle School” in which the most brilliant students study. In Pyongyang there are the 1st Middle Schools in three districts: Chanduk School, East-Pyongyang 1st School and Moranbong 1st School. The best school among those 1st schools is Pyongyang 1st Middle School where the most gifted students in the country can study.

Pyongyang 1st Middle School used to be the Namsan Loyal Middle School where only children of high authorities and patriots who had fought against the Japanese colonial government can attend. Because Kim Jong Il graduated there, it has become a special school for the gifted.

To enter the Pyongyang 1st Middle School, high grades in Revolutionary History are necessary. There are sub-items under the Revolutionary History: “Revolutionary records of the respectable Father, Kim Il Sung”, “Revolutionary records of the beloved Leader, General Kim Jong Il” and others.

Students must completely memorize the history of Kim Il Sung’s activities along with those of his son Kim Jong Il. High grades on Revolutionary History entrance exams give students priority in attending the school.

Fortunately, Kim Il Sung achieved independence from Japan instead of his father

In order to enter the school, students develop their powers of retentive memory at the expense of intellectual learning. North Korean policy dictates that memorization of revolutionary history should be a cradle to grave endeavor, beginning in pre-school and lasting through university study and beyond. Students abbreviate “the Great Kim Il Sung’s revolutionary history” as “GR (‘Wihyuk’ in Korean)” and “the beloved Kim Jong Il’s revolutionary history” as “BR (‘Chinhyuk’ in Korean).”

Adding to student misery has been the inclusion of “MR (‘Eohyuk’ in Korean)” in 2000, meaning “the Heroine Kim Jong Suk, the Mother’s revolutionary history.”

Students cynically claim that it is fortunate that Kim Il Sung won independence from Japan instead of his father Kim Hyung Jic because the amount of material to be memorized would have doubled.

Foreign media focus on the starvation and ruined North Korean economy caused by Kim Jong Il. However, the destruction of North Korea’s educational system and the subsequent waste of human resources represent some of his most serious crimes. Revolutionary history brainwashing is destroying the intellectual development of future generations.


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