North Korean defector: ″Even in math class, children are brainwashed″ | Press Releases | DW | 28.06.2012
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North Korean defector: "Even in math class, children are brainwashed"

At the DW Global Media Forum, former North Korean military officer Kim Joo-Il spoke about the importance of education. In an interview with DW, he describes the problem of propaganda-based education in North Korea.

"The standard curriculum in the North Korean school life is so designed that 60 percent of it is devoted to brainwashing about the dictatorship of the three generations Kim Il-Sung, Kim Jong-Il and the current leader Kim Jong-Un," Kim Joo-Il told DW.

He, too, was subjected to the propaganda, which nurtures North Korea's totalitarian system. The country, formally known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, combines elements of communism with a highly developed personality cult surrounding the ruling Kim family.

"The North Korean curriculum is cleverly designed to allow the brainwashing input into the classroom," recalled Kim Joo-Il. "For example, a typical problem in mathematics would be: “’There are 10 American tanks and the North Korean army destroyed five of them. How many are left?’ So even in math class, children are brainwashed."

After escaping from North Korea to China in 2005, he traveled to various countries in Southeast Asia before receiving asylum in the UK. Currently, he works for an organization in the UK, the Free NK News Paper, for the promotion of human rights in North Korea.

"The reason why the dictatorship is working in North Korea is not only because North Korea is isolated from the outside world," said Kim Joo-Il. It is also because of the education system, he added, emphasizing the role of the country's education system in perpetuating the regime and its abuse of human rights.

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Christoph Jumpelt

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