Recently a lot of scientific and technological achievements have been made in the DPRK, giving a strong impetus to the effort to build an economic giant. It is partly attributable to the daily improving education. A typical sign of the development of education is the distance learning.
“Distance learning is an ideal form of education that is well in accord with the actual condition,” says Kim Il Nam, dean of the Distance Learning College of Kim Chaek University of Technology.
The first auditorium for attending lectures given by the Distance Learning College of Kim Chaek University of Technology was established at the Hwanghae Iron and Steel Complex, when 40 office and shop-floor workers were enrolled. Originally the college intended to give them instruction and send them out into the world on a trial basis to have experience before enlarging the scope of enrollment and sphere of instruction. But they could not carry out their intention. As there were quite a lot of people wishing to attend the distance learning programme, they had to deal with a larger attendance than planned. For a little more than two years as many as 150 auditoriums were set up for the programme across the country. Such rooms are to be found in huge numbers in Pyongyang alone, including those at the Pyongyang Electric Cable Factory 326, the Pyongyang Kim Jong Suk Silk Mill and the Pyongyang Kim Jong Suk Textile Mill.
At present the distance learning is in an important position along with traditional styles of teaching. People attend lectures they want at a convenient time without leaving their factories, and they can have lectures repeatedly. However far they may be away from the college they can attend lectures they like given by professors of Kim Chaek University of Technology; they can ask questions and receive answers through sound- and image-based interactions. Sharing experience with other teachers and students all across the country, they can find a quicker solution to problems arising in actual production.
To suit the features of the distance learning, the college staff are working hard to develop new, reasonable systems of education management, dovetail curriculums meticulously, make nice teaching aids and arrange a favourable environment for instruction. They get reports on the attendance on a real-time basis and ensure that the learning site is a competitive stage involving all students, faculties and factories and provide ample reference materials as the students get more enthusiastic about their work. Taking advantage of an original formula of examination they have established, they understand practical attainments of the students and inform each factory of their results of examination regularly.
Distance learning makes it possible to train necessary talents on the shop floor and it is in good compliance with demands of the time of knowledge-based economy, so the education system is quite favourite with the public. An attendant, named Kim Chol, says, “I am a worker of the Chollima Steel Complex and a student of the Distance Learning College of Kim Chaek University of Technology. While attending the courses I have made a number of technical innovations successfully. I have got an eye to observe problems in reality from a scientific point of view.”
The general manager of the Hwanghae Iron and Steel Complex gives his comment, “In our enterprise many people have become qualified engineers after getting education through distance learning. They have learned latest science and technology and acquired theoretical and practical knowledge now. They are playing an important role in their sections and make up the backbone of the scientific and technological potentials of our enterprise.”
At present the public interest in distance learning is daily growing with the number of attendants increasing ever higher. The attendants include people of all ages and occupations, such as workers, factory managers, professional teachers, and the disabled.
The Distance Learning College of Kim Chaek University of Technology is now directing efforts to increasing the number of courses as desired by the students and updating and amplifying the content of lectures.