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N. Korea launches inspection on universities’ new academic year preparations

North Korea’s Ministry of Education has dispatched inspectors to leading universities in Pyongyang and the provinces to check on lecture preparations in major departments for the new academic year.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a Daily NK source in North Pyongan Province said Tuesday that the Ministry of Education “has sent academic inspectors to major universities in the country’s 13 provinces and special cities to check the state of lecture preparations for the new academic year.”

He added that the inspectors have been on a 10-day mission since Feb. 14 to “inspect and supervise this year’s restructured lecture content for major departments and professors’ methods.”

According to the source, North Korea’s education authorities have been reforming the lecture content of major departments at leading universities in Pyongyang and the provinces to the “level of leading world universities” by a decision by the Ninth Plenary Session of the Eighth Central Committee to “develop the contents and methods” of “specialized subjects” in a more “concrete, diversified and practical way.”

Accordingly, the academic inspectors aim to evaluate and confirm whether schools are properly implementing the reform of the content of lectures in specialized subjects before classes begin at major universities in Pyongyang and the provinces on Apr. 1.

In fact, the Ministry of Education emphasized that it is sending inspectors to see whether the schools have properly drawn up diversified and practical lecture plans for specialized subjects.

In addition, the Ministry of Education said it would use the inspectors to check the teaching methods of university professors who give lectures on specialized subjects entirely in English. The ministry said it would determine how well students understand and retain the content of lectures given entirely in English.

In this regard, the source said that the inspectors sent by the Ministry of Education “are focusing on evaluating the lecture material for specialized subjects that are now required to be taught entirely in English, as well as the teaching methods and students’ ability to digest the material.”

“Classes in some subjects at major universities in Pyongyang and the provinces have been required to be taught entirely in English for several years, and schools have been implementing this,” the source added. “The Ministry of Education plans to expand English instruction to more subjects this year.”

However, major universities in North Pyongan Province are unhappy with the ministry’s plan to expand English-only education.

The schools say it is wrong to apply the plan across the board to all subjects in all schools without diagnosing whether classes need to be taught in English, whether teachers have the necessary English skills, and whether students can follow English lectures.

“The order to teach in English aims to cultivate students into global talents, but the realistic opinion of universities is that neither the qualifications of teachers nor the level of students meets the plan,” the source said. “Ordinary university students also criticize the English lectures, saying that only the talented students of big universities can understand them.”

Translated by David Black. Edited by Robert Lauler.

Daily NK works with a network of sources living in North Korea, China, and elsewhere. Their identities remain anonymous for security reasons. For more information about Daily NK’s network of reporting partners and information-gathering activities, please visit our FAQ page here.

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February 21, 2024 at 01:30PM

by DailyNK(North Korean Media)

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