Kim Jong-un struggles to enforce rules as North Korea orders nationwide literacy crackdown

We will use your email address only for sending you newsletters. Please see our Privacy Notice for details of your data protection rights.

The famine, known in North Korea as the “Arduous March”, killed millions between 1994 and 1998 with some putting the death toll as high as 10 percent of the population. Tens of thousands of children who were unable to go to school at the height of the crisis have grown up having never learned to read and write.

Many North Koreans entered society without attending school

North Korean insider

According to sources within the hermit state, illiterate people are now being targeted by the government but are refusing to engage with lessons, prompting warnings and threats from Pyongyang.

One official in North Hamgyong province told Radio Free Asia: “On the Central Committee of the Korean Workers’ Party’s instructions, a survey project began nationwide in November to identify residents who do not know the Korean alphabet.

“They are conducting the survey in all agencies, companies, co-operative farms and special units, even in the armed forces.”

The United Nations said North Korea now had a primary and secondary education rate of near 90 percent and near 100 percent of the population is literate.

But the education system came close to collapse during the Arduous March because people were struggling to survive.

The source said: “Many North Koreans entered society without attending school because they were doing other things while they were trying to stay alive during the Arduous March.

“The Central Committee realised that an inability to read and write our language is a serious problem and ordered a countermeasure campaign.

“After work every day, they teach them how to read and write, but many of them are refusing to learn, so the teaching staff are having a hard time.

“The Central Committee has warned that those in charge of organisations with many illiterates that they will be held responsible for their ‘lack of effort’ in re-educating those who couldn’t attend school due to various circumstances during the Arduous March.”

Defence chiefs are focusing on soldiers and their family members who were born in the 1990s, according to a military source stationed to the north of Pyongyang.

The source said: “The party is urging us to eradicate illiteracy as soon as possible by intensely teaching the Korean alphabet as necessary in each unit.

“But this is easier said than done in the middle of a serious economic crisis.”

Defecting gymnast escapes North Korea by ‘vaulting 12 ft border wall'[SPOTLIGHT]
North Korean soldier KILLED by Kim Jong-un’s anti-coronavirus landmine[INSIGHT]
North Korea under threat from ‘shadowy’ underground movement[ANALYSIS]

The Washington-based committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) said the famine, which was blamed on economic mismanagement and the collapse of North Korea’s patron Soviet Union, caused lasting damage to the education system.

It said: “The public education system, like the healthcare system, was deeply strained by the decade of crisis in the 1990s.

“School authorities began to pass education costs on to children and their parents.

“Educational development and children’s potential remain stunted by a curriculum that prioritizes political indoctrination and unswerving loyalty to the regime, and the punishment of those who deviate.”

Source: Read Full Article