New Courses at Kim Il Sung University & Sungkyunkwan University

According to the Russians in Pyongyang, Kim Il Sung University will be adding the following programs: programming, dialectology (I think this is the study of dialects - I had to look this up myself), semantics and law.

Programming is unsurprising, given the emphasis on IT training in North Korean propaganda. I don't know what to say about the other fields though. One conscious decision we took when we set up Choson Exchange was to avoid the IT field. On one hand, there are many people involved in this area and who do a good job and are definitely able to do a much better job than us. On the other hand, IT training does not fit well with our mandate or the academic fields our teammates would like to share.

That said, the North Korean interest in IT seems to have roots that go very far back. When I was in Seoul in 2005, a friend at Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU) told me that they had a sister relationship with a North Korean university of the same name and heritage. I laughed it off then. I visited SKKU in North Korea in 2007 and it turns out that SKKU lecturers had given talks on IT in North Korea in 2002 - they had signed an academic exchange agreement in 1998.