PUST announces April start date

The opening of the South Korean-funded Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) has been repeatedly delayed by political concerns.  Project directors are now aiming for an April 2009 launch date. 

According to the AFP (via Singapore’s Straits Times): 

NORTH Korea’s first foreign-funded university is finally expected to open next year after being delayed by international tensions, the foundation behind the landmark project said Tuesday.

The North-east Asia Foundation for Education and Culture (NAFEC) said it has now set April 2009 as the target date after delays caused by disputes over the North’s nuclear programme and by inter-Korean tensions.

The original plan was to open the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) as early as September 2007 but there have been several delays.

‘We’ve reached the conclusion that it is difficult to open it now, in light of the current (political) situation,’ said Mr Choi Chung-Pyung, secretary general of the South Korean-based foundation.

‘We’re prepared to open it but the North has hinted that it is not the right time to engage in such a festive event,’ he told AFP. ‘The South, while admitting to the advantages of this project, also says the timing is not so favourable.’

The United States, whose support is essential for the university to be equipped with lab facilities and faculty members, is also hesitating to cooperate – citing the unsettled nuclear issue, Mr Choi added.

PUST would be the first institution of higher education operated and funded by associations and peoples outside the communist state, he said.

Mr Choi said the North’s science and technology education focuses on basics and fails to produce engineers with practical knowledge needed to produce export goods.

‘The North keenly feels the need for changes for economic resuscitation but it dares not, for fear of undermining its (communist) system,’ Mr Choi said.

Read the full article here:
NKorea’s 1st foreign uni delayed
AFP via Straits Times


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