In the DPRK, where legacy counts for so much, a ‘Song Gyun Gwan’ has been “re-founded” in Kaesong. Originally a 10th century school for training high officials, the name has been revived in the form of a college of light industry.
We saw that the campus was under construction last summer and now a Pyongyang magazine reports that it is finished and now running. The design of the rather large main building contains traditional elements with more contemporary ones.
Reports emphasized the school’s research into traditional products from the region, with ceramics, spinning and weaving, ginseng and food science departments. However, the ‘light industry’ tag and the variety of other more technical departments suggest that the school could operate as a platform for supplying more highly skilled workers for the Kaesong Industrial Complex, perhaps even for the management level.
Assuming that this period of tensions passes and that the Kaesong Industrial Complex reopens and eventually grows, it is not impossible that Kaesong could become something of a light industry hub for the DPRK, with the educational facilities and then employment opportunities to attract people from around the country. However, while it is positive to see a potentially valuable resource being founded outside the capital, it will probably remain marginal at best if the KIC doesn’t survive this period .