Educational Themes and Methods
As in other communist countries, politics come first in the
education system. In his 1977 "Theses on Socialist Education,"
Kim Il Sung wrote that "political and ideological education is
the most important part of socialist education. Only through a
proper political and ideological education is it possible to rear
students as revolutionaries, equipped with a revolutionary world
outlook and the ideological and moral qualities of a communist.
And only on the basis of sound political and ideological
education will the people's scientific and technological
education and physical culture be successful." Education is a
"total experience" encompassing not only formal school education
but also extracurricular "social education" and work-study adult
education. According to the "Theses on Socialist Education," the
socialist state should not only organize and conduct
comprehensive educational programs, eliminating the need for
private educational institutions, but should also "run education
on the principle of educating all members of society
continuously--the continued education of all members of society
is indispensable for building socialism and communism."
Chuch'e is a central theme in educational policy.
According to Kim Il Sung, "in order to establish chuch'e
in education, the main emphasis should be laid on things of one's
own country in instruction and people should be taught to know
their own things well." In his 1983 speech to education ministers
of nonaligned countries, Kim also emphasized that chuch'e
in education was relevant to all Third World countries. Kim
asserted that although "flunkeyism" should be avoided, it might
be necessary to adopt some techniques from developed countries.
Closely tied to the central theme of chuch'e in
education is the "method of heuristic teaching"--a means of
developing the independence and creativity of students and a
reaction against the traditional Confucian emphasis on rote
memorization. "Heuristics give students an understanding of the
content of what they are taught through their own positive
thinking, and so greatly help to build up independence and
creativeness." Coercion and "cramming" should be avoided in favor
of "persuasion and explanation," particularly in ideological
Data as of June 1993