New business and economics related majors established in top universities in North Korea

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)

It has been confirmed that many major universities in North Korea, including Kim Il Sung University, have recently established new departments relating to business and economics. Under the Kim Jong Un regime’s national goal of constructing an economically powerful nation, the addition of these business-related departments can be interpreted as a move to develop and foster the training of individuals who will lead North Korean economic development.

The Choson Sinbo, a news outlet published by the pro-North Korean General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, introduced some of these newly established departments in an article on March 22, 2014, stating that steps are being taken to strengthen the nation’s higher education system.

According to the newspaper, a department for International Economics has been opened at Kim Il Sung University, and the Pyongyang Jang Chol Gu University of Commerce now offers newly established programs in Hotel Management and Hotel Services. Additionally, the Jong Jun Taek University of Economics (formerly known as the Wonsan University of Economics) has installed several new departments, such as Tourism Economics, Insurance Studies, Pricing Studies, and Economic Law.

The addition of these international business, hotel and tourism departments stands out as part of North Korea’s recent efforts to strengthen their economy through the attraction of foreign investments and the development of the tourism industry.

The Choson Sinbo also stated that universities in the rural areas have changed their names to better suit the different types of scientists and technicians that they are training. For example, Sinuiju Light Industry University is now known as the Pyongbuk Institute of Technology, and Haeju Light Industry University has changed its name to the Hwangnam Institute of Technology.

This can be interpreted as a movement to promote “balanced growth” by creating a focal point for the development of talented individuals not only in light industry, but across all fields and industries. It is expected that these individuals will take the lead in developing the economies of North Korea’s rural regions.

Other newly emerging departments include Computer Hardware Engineering and Intelligence Engineering Program at Pyongyang University of Computer Technology, Geothermal Engineering at Pyongsong Coal Industry College, and Forest Construction and Heating Systems at Hamhung Hydrographic and Power College. Other additional departments include the Industry of Fine Arts and Commercial Fine Arts at the Pyongyang University of Printing Engineering, and various medical schools have seen the creation of a Recovery Medicines department.

The addition of these departments is a reflection of North Korea’s recent emphasis on the development of renewable energy systems and industrial design, such as geothermal heat.

The Choson Sinbo added that North Korea has also expanded its distance learning system, utilizing their information network to establish cyber colleges at Kim Il Sung University, Pyongyang University of Architecture, and Wonsan University of Agriculture this past January. Additional departments for distance learning were also reported to have been established at the Kim Hyong Jik University of Education.

According to the newspaper, distance learning is being developed for all classes of workers, and it is expected to revitalize the industry by fostering the growth of talented individuals from many fields, including agriculture and construction.


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