A few days ago, staff reporter Ham Kwang Hyok visited the Pyongyang Students and Children’s Palace on the occasion of its 60th founding anniversary (September 30, 1963).
When he arrived at the palace on the picturesque Jangdae Hill in the centre of the capital city of Pyongyang, he could see streams of schoolchildren coming there to take part in extracurricular activities.
Ri Jin Ju, section chief of the palace, welcomed him at the entrance.
According to her, the palace covers a total area of 110 000 square metres and a total floor space of 50 000 square metres, and has over 200 rooms for hobby group activities, including physics, chemistry, IT, music, dance, fine arts and sports, a 1 100-seat auditorium, a gym with an accommodation capacity of 500 persons, an outdoor practice ground and a library which houses hundreds of thousands of books. The palace, the first of its kind in the country for children, can accommodate over 5 000 children a day.
She led the reporter to the IT group hall of teaching general and application knowledge of computer for students to use it in practice.
Its instructor Sin Kum Jong said the group members have always taken the first place in programming contests held every year.
This year, too, its member Kim Ok Song, student at Kangan Senior Middle School in Songyo District, won the national programming contest among members of schoolchildren’s palace and schoolchildren’s hall.
Schoolchildren further consolidate their knowledge and acquire at least one skill through experiments, manufacturing activities and practical training.
Many graduates from the palace have been awarded certificates of state technical qualifications and grades every year, and many of them have become professors, doctors and other holders of academic degrees and titles and famous artistes, including People’s Artistes Jon Hye Yong and Ryom Chong.
At the dance group room, the reporter met its instructor Kim Hye Gyong, a Merited Artist.
Her group has produced excellent solo dancers who won special prizes, special diplomas and first prizes at the 1st UNESCO East Asian Children’s Festival and other world festivals and national solo dance contests. Many graduates from the group are playing a leading role in the Phibada Opera Troupe, Mansudae Art Troupe and other professional art groups.
The sports group is directing great efforts to training reserve athletes.
It has produced a hundred and dozens of honorary title holders and sports aces, including People’s Athlete Ri Kun Sang who distinguished himself in the world table tennis tournaments.
The state provides the palace with all apparatuses and facilities needed for experiments and practical training of schoolchildren for extracurricular activities.
According to Ri Jin Ju, it has sent over 20 000 pieces of experimental apparatuses and facilities in hundreds of kinds on over 90 occasions, including vehicles for education, computers, musical instruments and stuffed specimens.
The reporter left the palace, picturing in his mind the bright future of the country at the sight of schoolchildren bringing their talents into full bloom.