The DPRK introduced universal 11-year compulsory education in 1972 on a trial basis.
In September that year President Kim Il Sung visited a primary school in Kaesong.
First he dropped in at the room for a girls’ class. He asked the teacher in charge of the class what the enrolment of her class was and if all of the students went through kindergarten course. He unzipped the bags of some students to check their school things.
Standing just in front of the teacher’s desk and resting his arms against a short-legged desk, the leader asked a student in the first row to count. When the student counted from one to ten without so much difficulty, the leader asked some more, bending over to her. Excited, the student continued to 28, this time earning another praise of the President who tenderly patted her on the face.
He then presented a piece of paper in front of another student in the front row and helped her holding her pencil, asking her to write her name. After he gave an attentive eye at the young student in a bent posture, he asked others to do the same. He also praised them for their good style of writing.
He proceeded to inquire about the studying and degree of understanding of the schoolgirls and then headed for the classroom of schoolboys.
He took parental care of the children who were receiving the first-year course of the primary school. He paid close attention to their health, sanitation and educational and living conditions: What time do they leave home for school and vice versa; how long is the distance between the school and their home; how many lessons do they have a day; and whether the students can endure a 45-minute lesson.
Through his visit to the school he confirmed once again that the 11-year compulsory education system could be applicable in local areas, too.
As a result, the Fifth Session of the Fifth Supreme People’s Assembly held in April 1975 proclaimed a resolution on enforcing the 11-year compulsory education in all parts of the country on a full scale from September 1, 1975.