All students of North Korean history are well aware of the important influence of Soviet patterns on institutions in the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (hereafter, the DPRK). In Particular, this influence is evident to a Russian who has spent the greater part of his life as a citizen of the Soviet Union and who is familiar with Soviet institutions. This knowledge of the Soviet Union is especially useful for understanding the historical roots of many North Korean traditions, historical roots that are sometimes overlooked by both Western and South Korean scholars. The aim of this article is to describe the nature of the influence of Soviet patterns on the North Korean education systems, its institutions, as well as educational practices. Historians in every country have their favorite topics which for some reasons are especially popular in a particular historical tradition. The history of education happens to be one such favorite topic among Korean scholars. Though until recently South Korean academics had not paid much attention to many aspects of North Korean history, the education is an obvious exception and one can find a plenty of Korean-language studies dedicated to the history and present position of education in the DPRK) However, the task of this article is not to outline the history of North Korean education, but to investigate which features and traditions were borrowed by the North Koreans from the Soviet Union, South Korean scholars have also attempted to identify such features, but, not being familiar with Soviet educational practice, their studies have been limited to the impact of Soviet and Russian pedagogy on North Korea. In contrast, I focus on the more practical aspects of this influence. Therefor, this article is mostly of expository and descriptive nature. The North Korean educational system has been heavily influenced by Soviet (or, more generally, Russian) Patterns. This is hardly surprising; it is yet another example of the strength of Soviet influence on North Korea society in earlier periods of its history. However, what is worth noting is th uneven nature of this influence. In fields where North Korea had their own established traditions (namely, in elementary and, to a lesser degree, in secondary education), some indigenous traditions were retained, while in entirely new fields, like tertiary education or ideological indoctrination, Soviet influence was more profound. In the later period after 1960 when the DPRK ceased to be a Soviet satellite state, North Korean authorities attempted to discard Soviet practice across the board. Aspects of the education system were reformed, and those patterns which were considered to be too distinctly Soviet were changed. However, these reforms were often superficial and North Korean educational practice is still very much of the Soviet mold. This article is based mainly on South Korean materials related to the North Korean educational system, books and articles written by North Korean defectors, and my personal experiences living in both North Korea (as a foreign student) and the USSR. I also use some Western publications dealing with Soviet education in the 1950s and 1960s. I also would like to express my sincere gratitude to Dr. Han Man Gil (Korean Educational Academy) and Dr. Caiger (Australian National University) whose cooperation was vital for my work. While this is only an initial study, I hope that this article may be useful for students of North Korean history and society.
I. Introduction of the Soviet Educational Practice to the DPRK
II. Elementary and Secondary Education
Ⅲ. Higher Education
IV. Political Indoctrination
V. Degrees and Positions
VI. Some Remarks in Conclusion