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[MIDAS] North Korea’s Gifted – New legislation for education prodigies

Dr. Bernhard Seliger has released a new article in the March 2023 issue of the MIDAS Magazine titled “North Korea’s Gifted – New legislation for education prodigies”. In the article, he explains how North Korea shifted its focus towards science and technology under Kim Jong-un, and why this may still not be enough to promote economic development.

In February this year, the Standing Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly passed the “Act for Gifted Children”. While details of this new legislation are not yet known, the enactment of this act confirms the elevated significance science and technology hold for the country’s economic development.

This act is yet another addition to the efforts the regime has taken to promote education ever since Kim Jong-un rose to power. Other initiatives include the order for the construction of a large, new science center in the middle of Pyongyang, comparable in size to the National Science Museum in Gyeonggi Province, South Korea. The new museum will feature exhibits related to agriculture, military technology, and the sciences, among others. Moreover, the National History Museum in Pyongyang has been updated, and the period of school education has been extended to a total of 12 years. This marks a departure from policies during the reign of his predecessor Kim Jong-il where there has been a greater emphasis on agriculture, rather than on science and technology.

The new approach however is not free of shortcomings. The main obstacle North Korea faces in regard to economic development is the lack of innovation. State structures do not provide incentives for innovation because innovators cannot make profits from their inventions. This problem however can only be tackled through the introduction of market principles and subsequently the introduction of competition. Consequently, the potential of these gifted children cannot be fully used as long as the economy remains closed.

For more information, please visit the Midas magazine website (Korean).