North Korea's rubber-stamp Supreme People's Assembly in Pyongyang on Tuesday passed a bill mandating 12 years of education for all North Korean children, the official KCNA news agency reported. Leader Kim Jong-un attended the session.
In a report, SPA chairman Choe Tae-bok spoke about "strengthening computer technology and foreign language education."
So far education has been compulsory for 11 years, from five to 16, including one year of preschool. Under the new system, the primary education period will be extended from four to five years, and the six-year secondary education program will be divided into a three-year middle school course and a three-year high school course.
Young North Koreans will now enlist in the army a year later. "If it wants to maintain the troop levels at 1.2 million, the regime will have to delay the discharge of active-duty servicemen or change regulations," a South Korean government official speculated.
SPA made no mention of any economic reforms, which some observers had predicted would come up, though pundits said important political issues may have been discussed behind closed doors.