[KS] Fine article on the closure of NK universities at University World News

Kwang On Yoo lovehankook at gmail.com
Thu Jun 30 21:59:42 EDT 2011


Kim Jong-il is at the end of his rope- - -.
I think the closing of North Korean collages may be a culmination of this

Kwang-On Yoo

By Park Jun Hyeong*   [2011-06-29 18:18 ]     [image:
Shenyang, China -- Graffiti denouncing Kim Jong Il has allegedly been found
on a wall in Pyongyang, causing the authorities to launch a crackdown to
uncover the culprit.

According to one Chinese-Korean trader working between the North Korean
capital and Dandong, China, “Graffiti denouncing Kim Jong Il was found on
the wall of Pyongyang Railroad College on the 24th; the inspections and
regulations are phenomenal. Nobody can come or go from Pyongyang.”

The graffiti apparently stated, “Park Chung Hee and Kim Jong Il are both
dictators; Park Chung Hee a dictator who developed his country’s economy,
Kim Jong Il a dictator who starved people to death.” One syllable was a
man's head and was written on a red brick wall in white chalk, making it
quite striking.

“In order to catch the culprit, regulations and inspections targeting
visitors to Pyongyang as well as the city’s citizens went on for three days,
until the morning of the 27th,” the source said. “They wouldn’t even sell
train tickets, so my schedule got pushed back. One person visiting his son
in the military in Pyongyang was not able to get home.”

Pyongyang Railroad College is in Hadang 1-dong in Hyeongjesan-district, a
place with no streetlights with the exception of above the college main
gate. The neighborhood is also within the scope of the 100,000-home
construction project, so buildings in the area have been destroyed and
pedestrians are rarely seen. It would have been easier than in some other
places to leave graffiti.

According to the trader, the authorities launched the search for the person
responsible via a joint investigation team including the National Security
Agency and People’s Safety Ministry, specifically targeting students and
people from other provinces. They established road blocks on the roads
linking Pyongyang Station and West Pyongyang Station, Pyongyang-Pyongsung,
Pyongyang-Wonsan and Pyongyang-Kanri, then began questioning all passers’

Reporting the latest, he said, “The investigation unit has now narrowed down
the investigation to the Railroad College’s own students, and has blocked
the movement of people between provinces in order to stop the spread of
rumors. It seems they are dealing with it severely since it happened in
Pyongyang not in the provinces.”

Despite the authorities’ efforts to block the spread of the news, people as
far away as Pyongsung and even North Hamkyung Province know about it, the
source said.

On Thu, Jun 30, 2011 at 11:43 AM, <Afostercarter at aol.com> wrote:

> **
> Dear friends and colleagues,
> You'll be aware of reports that North Korea is closing
> its universities for the time being. As so often,
> a strange story; one wonders if it can be true.
> Here is the best article that I have yet read about this
> - from a source with which, to my shame, I was
> previously unfamiliar. Note the care taken to check
> out the story. Too often, as we know, sections of the
> "reptile press" will print any rumour about NK as fact.
> Who UWN? This is of wider interest. When Murdoch sold
> the Times Higher Ed and Times Education Supplements
> to private equity, the new owners summarily eliminated
> most of the international coverage. Those thus got rid of
> founded UWN, as a free online resource. Tell your friends.
> Kind regards
> Aidan FC
> (Full disclosure: I am quoted, but - more to the point - so
> are those who reside there, or have very recently visited.)
> *Aidan Foster-Carter*
> *Honorary Senior Research Fellow in Sociology & Modern Korea, Leeds
> University, UK*****
> * *****
> *E*: afostercarter at aol.com     afostercarter at yahoo.com   *W*:
> www.aidanfc.net    ****
> Flat 1,  40 Magdalen Road,  Exeter,  Devon,  EX2 4TE,  England,  UK****
> *T:* (+44, no 0)     07970 741307 (mobile);     01392 257753 (home)   ****
> *Skype*:  Aidan.Foster.Carter   *Twitter:*  @fcaidan
> __________________
>    http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20110630144003329
>   NORTH KOREA: Learning stops as students sent to work Yojana Sharma
> 30 June 2011
> Close watchers of North Korean affairs were caught on the hop this week by
> reports that universities in the hermit kingdom would be closed from 27 June
> for up to 10 months while students are sent to work on farms, in factories
> and in construction.
> Diplomats in Pyongyang confirmed that students were being drafted into
> manual labour on the outskirts of the city until April next year to prepare
> for major celebrations to commemorate the centenary of the late leader Kim
> Il Sung's birthday. But they said this did not mean the closure of
> universities.
> Reports originating in South Korea and Japan suggested that the Pyongyang
> government had ordered universities to cancel classes until April next year,
> exempting only students graduating in the next few months and foreign
> students.
> The reports said the students would be put to work on construction projects
> in major cities and on other works in a bid to rebuild the economy. This
> could indicate that the country's food crisis and economic problems are
> worse than previously thought.
> Experts on North Korea said full-scale university closures would be
> unprecedented. However, it was not unusual for students to be engaged in
> manual labour, with the academic year sometimes shortened in order to send
> students onto farms and construction sites.
> Peter Hughes, British Ambassador to North Korea, told *University World
> News* by email from Pyongyang: "There has been no official announcement in
> DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] about university students being
> sent to carry out manual labour for the next 10 months, but I can confirm
> that students from all the universities in Pyongyang have been mobilised to
> work at construction sites in the outskirts of the city until April 2012.
> "Some two years ago the DPRK announced that it would build 200,000 units of
> accommodation in the city to ease the chronic housing shortage. To date only
> some 10,000 units have been built, so the students have been taken out of
> universities in order to speed up the construction of the balance before
> major celebrations take place in April 2012 to commemorate the 100th
> birthday of the founder of the DPRK, Kim Il Sung."
> Universities are not closed as lecturers and postgraduate and foreign
> students remain on campuses, Hughes said on Thursday.
> "The UK has an English language teacher training programme at three
> universities in Pyongyang. The mobilisation of the students should not
> affect this programme as the majority of activity is focused upon teacher
> development and not teaching students."
> Charles Armstrong, Director of the Centre for Korea Research at Columbia
> University who returned from Pyongyang earlier last week, said he had
> visited two state-run universities, Kim Il Sung University and Kim Chaek
> University of Technology in Pyongyang, as well as the private Pyongyang
> University of Science and Technology (PUST) in the last few weeks.
> At the two public universities the vast majority of students were not
> present, Armstrong told *University World News*. "It is also a very busy
> time for rice transplanting and you see a lot of young people in the
> fields."
> However, students were studying as normal at PUST, a postgraduate
> institution funded by Korean-American and South Korean philanthropists that
> teaches mainly engineering.
> "It is very hard to get information in and out of the country and there may
> be some confusion because every summer students have to go down to the
> fields to help with the rice planting. It is not the first time that I have
> heard reports that universities have shut down for a period," Armstrong
> said.
> "My impression is that there is not a lot going on in terms of teaching and
> studying in public universities and student time is taken up with 'extra
> curricular' activities including political education. This is a regular part
> of university life but I have not heard of the universities being shut down
> completely except for a short while during the 1990s [famine]," he added.
> A major famine and economic crisis in the late 1990s meant that much farm
> equipment went unused and simply rusted in the fields, so the need for
> manual labour has grown. Students and army recruits are mobilised to help,
> often having to travel far from where they live.
> "My understanding of the university system is that it is largely
> dysfunctional. Resources are lacking, many professors spend their time
> earning from private tuition - so my impression is that it would not make a
> great deal of difference if they are shut down," said Armstrong.
> Aidan Foster-Carter, a writer and researcher on North Korea, formerly at
> Leeds University in England, said: "North Korea sets great store by these
> anniversaries. They decreed a few years ago that 2012 would be their date
> for becoming a great and prosperous nation defined in economic terms. It
> would make sense having extra persons out there to help with construction,
> though normally it is the army that does it."
> But any mass use of student labour for longer than the summer vacation
> months would mean a trade-off against achieving economic goals that required
> educated workers, he said.
> "North Korea's is a strange and broken economy but they also need educated
> people to pull them out and it would be a major precedent to close the
> universities. It could be a sign that they are in a worse mess than we
> thought."
> Hazel Smith, professor of security and resilience at Cranfield University
> who also lectures at Pyongyang's Kim Il Sung University, said North Korean
> universities were operating as usual in and outside the capital when she was
> there in May.
> She said it would be counterproductive for the regime to close
> universities. Despite huge labour shortages throughout the country, the
> regime is "fully aware that people need to be taught IT and technology and
> of course nuclear [engineering].
> "They are dependent to fulfill their economic goals on people who are
> computer literate and engaged in advanced science. I don't think [closures]
> will last very long. There are too many other priorities to deal with."
> Analysts in Japan and South Korea suggested there could be other reasons
> behind the decision to disperse the students across the country, including
> the possibility of demonstrations at campuses inspired by the Arab Spring
> uprisings, which began at universities.
> They noted that North Korea had purchased anti-riot equipment from China in
> recent months, including tear gas and batons, while there has been an
> increased police presence at key points in Pyongyang in recent weeks.
> Foster-Carter said North Korea watchers have been closely monitoring for
> signs of unrest since the spring, but there had not been any.
> "The amount of information from the Middle East reaching the ordinary
> citizen is very, very limited and there has been nothing at all in the
> official media," Armstrong said. "There has been no student unrest that we
> know of for the last 50 years."
> According to North Korea analysts, party controls are in place to prevent
> student uprisings, including political indoctrination and strong
> surveillance. Some analysts said surveillance on campuses had relaxed in
> recent years because many party officials had not been paid.
> However, experts agreed that the possibility of universities being shut
> would be an ominous sign of tension. "The most likely reason [to shut
> universities down completely] would be for military mobilisation if they
> thought they were going to be attacked," Smith said.
> *Related links*
> NORTH KOREA: University events raising tensions<http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20101203211829688>
> NORTH KOREA: First international university opens<http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20100507211230667>
> NORTH KOREA: University opens students to the world<http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20100507205720549>
> Printable version<http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20110630144003329&mode=print>
> Email to a friend<http://www.universityworldnews.com/forms/email_article.php?story=20110630144003329&mode=form>
> Comment on this article<http://www.universityworldnews.com/article_comment.php?sid=20110630144003329>
> *Disclaimer:* All reader responses posted on this site are those of the
> reader ONLY and NOT those of University World News or Higher Education Web
> Publishing, their associated trademarks, websites and services. University
> World News or Higher Education Web Publishing does not necessarily endorse,
> support, sanction, encourage, verify or agree with any comments, opinions or
> statements or other content provided by readers.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://koreanstudies.com/pipermail/koreanstudies_koreanstudies.com/attachments/20110630/43df1878/attachment.html>

More information about the Koreanstudies mailing list