Successful Introduction of the System of Universal Free Education in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea

 2021.11.24.

To encourage the development of a country by means of science, talents and education-this is an unchangeable intention of every nation.

Education, through which talents are grown, is extremely important for the future as well as for the present of a nation.

Owing to the colonial rule and obscurantist policy of imperialist Japan in the past, education of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea had to start from scratch after the liberation. However, the DPRK has been making rapid progress in the field of education, and its education has been rising to world-class level.

The progressive educational system of the DPRK, which was developed under the wise leadership of the great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung, is a vastly superior system of universal free education which can be boasted throughout the world.

The great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung said as follows.

"The most comprehensive free education is ensured in our country on the principle that the state takes full responsibility for educating the people."

The introduction of universal free education in the DPRK was the fruit of the wise leadership of the great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung who always regarded education as a fundamental issue in deciding a country's future and paid full attention to it since he embarked on the revolutionary struggle.

This paper is aimed to describe the historical process of the successful introduction of universal free education in the DPRK and its characteristics.

The universal free education of the DPRK took root during the anti-Japanese revolutionary war organized and led by the great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung. At the early stage of the anti-Japanese revolution, he saw to it that Jinmyong School in Kalun, SamgwangSchool in Guyushu and Samsong School in Wujiazi provided free education for the first time in the history of Korean people's education.

In early March, Juche 17(1928),the great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung dispatched young revolutionaries to the Jiatun village of Kalun to turn the village School into Jinmyong School and saw to it children of poor peasants around Kalun could get free education there. The school was that of four years, and the main subjects which were taught there included native language (the Korean language), arithmetic, Korean history and geography, with others such as nature, biology, essay-writing, drawing, music and physical education.

In autumn of Juche 19(1930) when he was making the rural areas revolutionary,he reorganized Oyong School and Samjung School, which were schools of four years built by Korean nationalists, into Samsong School and saw to it that children of poor peasants around Wujiazi could go to school for free. In Samsong School, over 200 children studied for free.

The great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung allowed the war funds raised through the strenuous struggles of soldiers of the Korean Revolutionary Army to be spent on laying the foundation for free education of young people and children. Also he led several revolutionary organizations (such as the Anti-Imperialist Youth League, the Association of Fellow Peasants, the Women's Association, etc.)in rural villages to motivate villagers to support education materially and morally. As a result, all the schools in guerilla zones on the shore of the Tuman River was able to provide completely free education and senior students of Samgwang School were supplied for free with clothes and shoes as well as lodging, bedclothes and school things.

The universal free education with supply of perfect conditions for students in Kalun, Guyushu, Wujiazi and other areas established by the great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung during the early stage of anti-Japanese revolutionary struggle-this was the first policy of free education which was born in the flames of the anti-Japanese war.

In the first half of the 1930s, the great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung saw to it that the people's revolutionary governments in guerilla bases on the shore of the Tuman River abolished the educational system of colonial slavery of Japanese imperialism and established a revolutionary, popular system of education. As its first step, he saw to it that universal free compulsory education was provided for school-age children in the guerilla zones.

In 1933, the percentage of school attendance of school-age children in Korea was no more than 20% and most schoolchildren were from rich families or government officials. The same was true for education of Korean people in Jiandao.

After occupying Manchura, the Japanese imperialists forcibly closed down almost all private schools in rural areas built by Koreans like in Korea, forcing their colonial slave education on them. Therefore, most school-age Korean children were totally deprived of learning opportunity.

The people's revolutionary governments established in guerilla zones built Children's Corps schools to provide universal free education,and made sure that all school-age children in guerilla zones could get free education without paying any kind of school fee and other miscellaneous fees.

In October, Juche 22(1933), the great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung paid a visit to the Children's corps School of Dabeigou in the Yaoyinggou guerilla zone of Wangqing County, and told members of the Children's Corps that they were future-makers of the nation, guerillas would find more strength when they grew happily and vigorously, and they should quickly grow into pillars of the country with confidence in victory and optimism despite any type of hardship.

Based on the experiences he had gained when introducing free compulsory education in guerilla zones in the first half of the 1930s, the great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung laid down free education in the eighth provision of the "Ten-Pint Programme of the Association for the Restoration of the Fatherland" which he had formulated in May, Juche 25(1936). This was the most popular and progressive education program which ensured that all working people and children could learn to their heart's content without paying even a penny by combining compulsory education and free education closely,

As described above, universal free education of the DPRK took root during the period of the arduous anti-Japanese revolutionary struggle.

After the liberation of Korea, universal free education in the DPRK gradually improved through the process of preparing to introduce compulsory education based on free education. It is self-evident that genuine compulsory education can be feasible only with free education. Even if "compulsory education" might be legalized, it would be an armchair argument if much tuition fee was imposed on learners.

On July 4, Juche 36(1947), when he visited Pyongyang Primary School No. 2(Then), he explained what should be done for school education, emphasizing that education should be done the expense of the state. He said that it was possible only in the democratic system of the DPRK to give people compulsory education at the expense of the state and if the system of compulsory elementary education was introduced and students of universities and colleges were given education at the expense of the state, all school-age children of the DPRK would be able to learn for free and all students of colleges and universities in the DPRK would be able to study on a scholarship.

Based on the successes achieved in introducing the system of compulsory elementary education, the great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung saw to it that law on introduction of universal compulsory elementary education was promulgated in the 4th session of the Supreme People's Assembly of the DPRK on September 10,Juche 38(1949).This law pointed out that since September 1,Juche 39(1950) the system of universal compulsory elementary education would start and be ensured by free education and children from needy families would be provided with textbooks and other school things for free by the state. This was a significant, historic event which opened the door of learning to Korean people who had bitterly experienced the pain of ignorance under the half-century colonial rule of vicious Japanese imperialists.

On June 25, 1950, the US imperialists invaded the DPRK, which stopped the improvement of the system of free compulsory education. After the war, the system of universal compulsory elementary and secondary education with free education as a prerequisite was completely introduced in the DPRK.

Universal free education in the DPRK was completely enforced with systematical growth of the state's funding for education serves as a major condition which makes it possible to provide universal free education. In Juche 44(1955) when the 3-year national economic plan was being carried out for the post-war reconstruction of the national economy, the government increased expenditures on education by about 2.5 times as much as in Juche 38(1949).

As the socialist economic forms were established and the solid base of independent national economy was laid in the DPRK, the great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung saw to it that expenditure on education in the budget was increased for completing free education.

Expenditure on education and culture accounted for 12.7% in Juche 45(1956), 18.7% in Juche 47(1958) and 23.2% in Juche 48(1959), and in Juche 48(1959) expenditure on education for each head of population in the DPRK increased by four times as much as in Juche 43(1954). The systematical growth of expenditure on education meant the firm financial, economic foundations for universal free education in the DPRK.

Considering the successes achieved in the struggle of relieving working people of tuition fees and the mature conditions, the great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung took a historic measure to introduce completely universal free education in the DPRK.

The government of the DPRK proclaimed the complete abolition of tuition fees in all educational establishments of the DPRK since April 1, Juche 48(1959), through Decision No.18 of the Cabinet of the DPRK on March 2, Juche 48(1959), "On universal abolition of tuition fees". It enables all the people of the DPRK to get free education in educational establishments of all levels at the expense of the state.

The system of universal free education in the DPRK is a superior system which has its own characteristics.

The most notable characteristic of the universal free education system in the DPRK is a completely free education system which is funded by state. Ho Ji Myong, the former president of Vietnam, envious of the universal free education system in the DPRK, opened up his heart to the great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung, saying that it was impossible to introduce free education in his country because of big deficits.

The free education of the DPRK features not only abolition of the payment of tuition but also provision of everything needed for teaching and learning for free. The government of the DPRK also pays for all expenses of student's experiments, practice, extracurricular activities, excursions, camping, etc. Furthermore, under the system of state payment, each year school things are supplied and school uniforms and other clothes are provided for all students of schools of all levels and children of nurseries and kindergartens at a nominal charge.

Another prominent characteristic of the system of universal free education in the DPRK is that it covers every domain of education such as social education and adult education as well as formal education and the state has the full responsibility for providing good studying and living conditions.

In the DPRK, every type of social education and adult education is provided the state's expense.

Today, the DPRK has introduced a universal 12-year compulsory education based on free education under the wise leadership of the respected Comrade

The respected Comrade Kim Jong Un who has been carrying forward the ideology and cause of the great leaders Comrade Kim Il Sung and Comrade Kim Jong Il.

In the near future, the DPRK will rise as a world-class educational power, talent power on the basis of its excellent education system under the wise leadership of the respected Comrade Kim Jong Un.