Increase in cyber lectures in North Korea

Institite for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)

Since Kim Jong Un took power, North Korea has been keen on the information and technology (IT) sector and recently expanded the number of cyber lectures through domestic computer network (intranet).

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported in an article titled “Expanding Distant Learning” (February 6) that “Distance Education College of Kim Chaek University of Technology (Cyber University) is making a great progress and added five departments and are running more than 20 cyber courses from this year.”

North Korea’s concept on the distant learning university is defined as a form of education that allows students that live far away from colleges to attend lectures through information network system.

The College of Distance Education University is affiliated with the Kim Chaek University of Technology and was established in January 2006 when Kim Jong Il was inspecting the newly constructed electronic library of Kim Chaek University. His instructions were “to provide distance education for students in the distant provinces interested in information and communication to obtain education without coming to a university.”

KCNA reported that what began as the Distant Learning Center was reorganized into the Distant Learning College from March 2010. It also said that “Distant Learning College students are attending classes at Chollima Steel Complex, Hukryong Coal Mine and other units of production nationwide.”

The Dean of the Cyber College, Kim Il-nam stated, “Distance Education College fosters workers to become excellent technician through combining theory and practice, and reeducate experienced technicians to enhance the technological capabilities of the plants.” He commended the college as an “excellent institution that tailors to the current needs and demonstrate strong livelihoods.”

The Dean further added, “Recently, the college has adopted new national standards and authored reference books after collecting over 150 national scientific and technological achievement registrations, patents, software copyrights and program registrations.” He also mentioned that there were many highly acclaimed degree holders.

Other North Korean media reported that “Distant learning lectures will contribute to the production growth,” and spoke of cyber lectures held in Pyongyang textile factory and students learning via computers.

For North Korea, the education system had been established for field workers at communication, factory, and television colleges, as well as night college. The recently expanding cyber lectures are a similar education system to support the workers in their fields. As North Korea is establishing IT related infrastructure and developing software industry, the cyber lecture system is continuing to expand.

Besides Kim Chaek University of Technology, other major universities as well as the Grand People’s Study House and the National Library are providing cyber lectures for field workers.


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