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N. Korean schools start summer vacation early due to hot weather

North Korean elementary schools began summer vacation on July 1 due to the hot weather, Daily NK has learned.

“All primary schools in Sinuiju have been on vacation since the first of the month. The government wants to prevent students from fainting in the summer heat, which is particularly sweltering this year,” a source in North Pyongan Province told Daily NK on July 5, speaking on condition of anonymity.

At the end of June, Sinuiju’s department of education received orders from the Ministry of Education through North Pyongan Province’s bureau of education to start summer vacation for elementary schools on July 1 and for middle and high schools on July 20, and to continue the vacation until the end of August.

As a result, elementary schools in Sinuiju went on vacation a month earlier than usual. The source said that primary schools in other counties in the province also went on vacation on the same day after receiving the same orders from the Ministry of Education.

Since the orders came from the central government, it would appear that all primary schools in the country begin their summer vacation on July 1. This was partially confirmed by a source in Yanggang Province who said that all primary schools in Hyesan went on vacation on July 1.

Normally, summer vacation in North Korea lasts for the single month of August. But because elementary schools went on vacation a month earlier than usual, this year’s vacation is expected to last two months.

Many North Korean schools lack ways to cool down classrooms

According to the source, classrooms in North Korea are not equipped with fans or air conditioning, and students find it difficult to breathe in the oppressive summer heat.

Students are drenched in sweat, even when classroom windows are open, and sometimes faint in the middle of their studies. This year has been so humid that school authorities have taken this extreme measure out of concern for students’ health, the source said.

“Even here in the northern area, the daytime temperature often exceeds 30 degrees Celsius. Parents were worried about how their children would study in the hot weather, and they’re relieved that the children will get a vacation during the hottest two months of the year,” the source in North Pyongan Province said.

When elementary schools announced to students and their parents that this year’s summer vacation would be longer than usual, they added that the decision to take a two-month vacation was “thanks to the Marshal’s love and care for children,” referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“There would be no reason to give [a longer] vacation if the schools had electric fans. This vacation is the result of inadequate school facilities, so it’s absurd to attribute it to the ‘Marshal’s love,’” cynical parents responded, according to the source. 

By order of the Ministry of Education, middle and high schools will go on summer vacation on July 20, ten days earlier than usual.

After hearing the news, some wealthy parents rushed to find talented tutors so that their children could get some extra studies in during the long vacation, the source said.

Daily NK works with a network of sources living in North Korea, China, and elsewhere. Their identities remain anonymous for security reasons.

Please send any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.

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July 09, 2024 at 12:06PM

by DailyNK(North Korean Media)

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