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Saturday, May 26, 2018

Online Learning in North Korea | The Diplomat

Photo: Tae-jun Kang
"Is North Korea going through an online learning revolution?" reports Tae-jun Kang, Southeast Asia correspondent and columnist for The Diplomat.

In this June 16, 2017, photo, North Korean men and women use computer terminals Photo: AP Photo/Wong Maye-E

In the past, if you wanted to get a degree or certificate, or just learn something new, you needed to physically attend classes. But this is not the case anymore as the online learning revolution has started.

The global e-learning market was worth $165.21 billion by 2015 and is expected to reach $275.10 billion by 2022, growing by around 7.5 percent each year during the forecast period, according to a report by India-based research firm OrbisResearch.

The report cited flexibility in learning, low cost, easy accessibility, and increased effectiveness through animated learning as the key factors behind the sector’s growth. It added that the increasing number of internet users and growing access to broadband pooled with mobile phones with online capabilities are also fueling the rise of e-learning.

The report covered a total of 17 countries, from the United States to Egypt. But it missed one country where not many people would imagine an online education system exists: North Korea.

Although North Korea provides an 11-year compulsory education, the kind of education one receives or which educational institute one attends often depends on social class. In order to join prestigious universities, for instance, students must have a good family background as well as connections with the government — not to mention enough money to bribe either schools or local authorities.

However, as recent developments have proven, the hermit kingdom is showing some signs of change. Its education system is no exception.

In particular, North Korea’s propaganda news websites have extensively promoted online education provided by different institutions and organizations inside the country.

Take Kim Il-sung University as an example. It is one of the most prestigious universities in North Korea, the alma mater of North Korea leader Kim Jong-un and most of his family members. It is a must-attend educational institute for North Koreans who hope to climb up the country’s social ladder.

This prestigious university recently awarded degrees to those who finished their program via a distance learning course for the first time.

Kim Il-sung University is not alone. A distance learning course first became available at the Kim Chaek University of Technology, and now many universities across North Korea, including Pyongyang University of Architecture and Pyongyang Jang Chol Gu University of Commerce, offer degree courses online, according to a North Korean propaganda website, DPRK Today.

Students in North Korea even can take university courses via their mobile phones, DPRK Today claimed.
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Source: The Diplomat


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