N Korea: Schools begin 81-hour course on Kim Jong-un

North Korean school children at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun mausoleum in Pyongyang Image copyright AFP

Students in North Korea will have to complete a three-year course on the country's leader, Kim Jong-un, as part of their secondary school studies, it's been reported.

The new course was introduced to the curriculum this year, according to South Korea's state-owned KBS World Radio website. The radio station says it has obtained a copy of the North Korean Education Committee's "compulsory education outline", which establishes "the history of Kim Jong-un as an official school subject". Schoolchildren will have to complete 81 hours of study over three years, the report says. There aren't yet any textbooks that could help them understand the leader's life, so classes are instead taught using materials from the ruling Workers' Party of Korea. "The classes are also said to be teaching Kim's quotes, theses and orders he gave to the ruling party and military," the website says.

While there has been relatively little trace of a personality cult surrounding Kim Jong-un since he took power in December 2011, some observers say the new classes could signal the start of one. Children in the North's schools are already required to take courses on several key political personalities, including 160 hours of study on the country's founder, Kim Il-sung.

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