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North Korea

Preprimary & Primary Education

Kindergarten has two levels with each level consisting of a one-year period and the lower level beginning at age four. The elementary school consists of four years from ages six to nine and is called the "people's school."

All children of school age (from 5 to 16) are included in the 11-year compulsory education that is intended to efficiently realize the ideals of socialistic human beings. The system is efficient because it reduces the universally required 12 years to 10: 4 years for primary schooling and 6 years for secondary education.

This system is also organized to ensure the continuity and integration of basic education with political education from preschool to the second cycle of secondary education. Basic education is focused on language, math, science, and physical education subjects.

Primary school children usually receive 4 hours of instruction each day during 2 semesters of 39 weeks per year. In addition to regular classroom instruction, they participate in various kinds of group activities. In primary education, time allocation for subjects is: political education, 13.6 percent; language, 31.7 percent; and math, 23.1 percent (together accounting for 68.4 percent of general classroom instruction time in primary education). Other subjects are science, 6.7 percent; physical education, 8.4 percent; and music and arts, 16.8 percent (Han Man-Kil 1997).

Following the guidelines of the thesis of socialist education, primary education has the unique quality of emphasizing political education and collectivistic pedagogical methods. North Korean's Socialist theory of education even controls extracurricular group activities that are designed to integrate theory with practice even in primary education. Upon graduation, pupils are assigned to secondary schools in their residential areas.

In 1965, the number of primary schools reached 4,024. That number has increased gradually to 4,700 in 1975; 4,760 in 1985; and 4,813 in 1996. On the other hand, student enrollments reached 1,152,000 in 1965; 1,715,000 in 1975; and 1,908,000 in 1985. But in 1996 the numbers decreased slightly to 1,884,000 students. The number of teachers reached 26,000 in 1965; 39,000 in 1975; and 47,000 in 1985. (Numbers for 1996 are unknown.)

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Education - Free Encyclopedia Search EngineGlobal Education ReferenceNorth Korea - History Background, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education, Higher Education