Primary school years
For the children of DPR Korea, middle childhood represents a continuation of close and intense interaction with institutions. While the early childhood institutions’ primary objective is guardianship and basic care, entry into education marks a more intense emphasis on learning and formal socialization.
Shortages of basic school supplies and textbooks, and degradation of school infrastructure has impacted the quality of education that children receive in DPR Korea.
Children in DPR Korea begin kindergarten at the age of 5 and 6, and enter primary school at the age of 7. DPR Korea has a free and compulsory primary and secondary education system. With universal enrolment, the ratio between girls and boys is absolutely equal.
Education in DPR Korea encompasses experiential learning based on practical action and labour as part of a course study. The education policy promotes socialist pedagogy and engenders participation in public life and production. Some aspects of school curricula for boys and girls differ. For example, there is greater emphasis on physical education for boys and on home economics for girls.
Field observations and verbal reports from the Ministry of Education indicate that the prolonged hardships are beginning to provoke patterns of absenteeism. Primary acknowledged factors include illness and problems of heating schools during the long sub-zero winters. Girls and boys in the mountainous northeast of the country are particularly vulnerable.
The condition of schools has deteriorated along with the downturn in the economy and the impact of natural disasters. Shortages of basic school supplies and textbooks, and degradation of school infrastructure has impacted the quality of education that children receive in DPR Korea, as has the lack of gender-sensitive environments. Learning methods have also not evolved in step with international developments.