A great emphasis is placed on education in North Korea for all members of the society. The North Korean regime had a target of producing 1.3 million intellectuals, and that target was passed in 1988. According to a report issued to the regime there were 170 “higher learning institutions” and 480 “higher specialized schools” in North Korea. Work-study and adult education programs in the country are highly supported by the regime. Almost every citizen takes part in some form of educational activity in the form of small study groups.
Since the early nineties, the rural communities have been organized into “five-family teams.” Such teams serve educational and stakeout functions. Each team is monitored by a school teacher or some other intellectual, who is responsible for a number of such teams. Office and factory workers get two-hour “study sessions” after work on subjects like politics and technology. “Farm colleges” teach rural workers to become engineers and assistants. For peasants who never received regular school education, “labourer schools” and “labourers’ senior middle schools” were established, which have since become outdated due to the implementation of compulsory eleven-year education. Other more modern institutions of higher education include colleges and universities; there are four year college courses for training teachers to become kindergarten, primary and secondary school teachers; advanced technology colleges offering two and three year courses; six-year medical schools; specialized institutions offering education in science, music, art, and foreign languages in addition to military institutions.
More recently there has been an effort to increase academic and cultural association between North Korea and America through the P’yongyang Project. This two and a half week program will allow teachers and students to benefit from the study abroad program. The credit bearing program is run in association with several universities in the U.S.