1. Definitions

2. School Organization

3. Laws, Plans, Policies and Programmes

4. Governance

5. Learning Environments

6. Teachers and Support Personnel

7. Monitoring and Reporting


  1. Definitions

Inclusive education

An explicit definition of inclusive education has not been found

Special educational needs

An explicit definition of special education needs has not been found


  1. School Organization

Education in the North Korea is universal and state funded schooling by the government. The country’s education system is made up of three kinds of schools. The main is the general school system. The other two schools are schools for continuing education and schools for special purposes which aims to educate talented and exceptional children.

In accordance with the 2003 Law on the Protection of Persons with Disabilities, learners with disabilities receive education in special classes within regular schools or in special schools targeted at learners with physical and mental disabilities. Special schools are set up according to the type of disability and needs of the students. Special education is provided in Blind Schools, Deaf Schools, and in Colleges for Ex-servicepersons Disabled on Duty, while learners with other disabilities receive education in regular primary and secondary schools with their peers.

Children with disabilities at preschool age are brought up at the community kindergartens, such as the Rehabilitation Centre for Children with Disabilities, which provide them appropriate rehabilitation support.

The first educational institution for persons with disabilities (the Wonsan Public Blind and Deaf School) was established in 1947, as  a five-year primary school providing free education. In 1955 it was divided into the Blind School and the Deaf School. With the introduction of the universal compulsory secondary education deaf schools were set up in every province and blind schools by regions in 1959.  Blind and deaf students can also access tertiary education, such as skills-training schools affiliated to factories or enterprises, colleges, universities, distance educational institutions or on-the-job colleges. In 2009, distance education was introduced to also make higher education available and accessible to persons with disabilities. In 2010, a pilot initiative was launched to foster inclusive education through workshops on the use of Korean Sign Language and for educators working in the sector.

A Vocational Training Centre of the KFPD,  provides to school graduates specialized training in carpentry, manufacturing of light electrical appliances, garment processing, repairing skills, prosthetic dentistry, massaging, food processing, etc.

Preparatory work is under way to  designate one primary school in Pyongyang as a pilot school for integrated education and to operate one deaf class.


  1. Laws, Plans, Policies and Programmes

The Law on General Education states that local people’s committees are responsible for the registration and enrollment of all school-aged children with no exceptions (art. 12) Education for all citizens, including persons with disabilities is reaffirmed in the Education Law, Law on Higher Education and Law on the Upbringing and Nursing of Children. In accordance with the Education Law, Law on Higher Education, Law on General Education and Law on the Upbringing and Nursing of Children all citizens including persons with disabilities receive free education from kindergartens to universities. 

According to the Juche ideology, the country gives primary importance to the education of citizens. Special attention is provided to the most vulnerable groups, such as children residing in isolated areas or hit by natural disasters, in mountainous areas and islets, as well as disadvantaged children in orphanages, and to “physically handicapped children” and talented pupils.


The DPRK signed the CRPD in 2013. Amended in 2013 to be consistent with the latter , the 2003 Law on the Protection of Persons with Disabilities is the main legal instrument to protect rights and interests of persons with disabilities. The Law provides a new definition of disability and establishes a system of supportive mechanisms to learners with disabilities in special schools and classes, such as scholarships, assistive devices, and tailored curricula. The Law on the Protection of the Rights of the Child reaffirms the children with disabilities’ equal rights to receive education (art. 30), and states that the responsibility laid in parents and guardians’ attention (art. 40). 

In the education sector, the Education Law contains provisions on general compulsory education to children with disabilities and on the establishment of material conditions for the education of ex-servicepersons who are affected by disabilities. In particular, the Education Law entrust local government organizations to provide secondary compulsory education to physically disabled children, including to blind and deaf learners (chapter 2, art. 15)

The Action Plan 2013-2015 includes among its targets the improvement of vocational education and training for persons with disabilities through inclusive education, the removal of communication barriers and through the enhancement of the representative associations ‘capacity, such as the Art Association of Persons with Disabilities, the Deaf Association, the Blind Association, the Association of Women with Disabilities. The Rehabilitation Centre for Children with Disabilities was also activated.

The target of improving, providing them with adequate working conditions, doing groundwork for the realization of inclusive education, strengthening activities for the removing of, accelerating disability sports, enhancing capacity of, organizing and building capacity of, increasing capacity of, organizing and activating the operation of R, all of which were achieved with success.

To improve secondary education for children with disabilities, the Action Plan 2016 aimed to establish a system of distance education for secondary education for children with disabilities and to introduce new IT equipment.

Sector-specific strategies, including in education, for  the implementation of the National Strategy for the Economic Development 2016-2020, currently under implementation, also cover persons with disabilities, with long-term and stage-by-stage targets to be attained by the year 2020.

As example of implementation measure, in 2012 Handicap International launched a project to improve the living and learning conditions of children with hearing and visual impairment in six special schools in DPR Korea. Besides the renovation of education premises, schools and dormitories and the supply of educational materials and supportive teaching aids, the project includes the organization of training for teachers and staff of the Department for Special Education on teaching methods and on the adaptation of training courses to the needs of the children.


In line with the 1946 Decree on Gender Equality, the 2010 Law on the Protection of the Rights of Women reaffirms the prohibition of any forms of discrimination and lays down the principle of gender equality (art. 2). In particular, equality is guaranteed in the field of education and culture (art. 18) and provided through equal education access at all levels. Women have the right to access tertiary education without restrictions, expect for designated courses (art.19)

People living in rural or remote areas

Rational geographical distribution of educational institutions is considered according to the specific features of the districts and areas.

In order to ensure full attendance of compulsory secondary education, dormitories have been established in mountainous areas and the boarding children of physical and office workers have been subsidized. The National Plan of Action for EFA for the period up to 2015 aims to increase nurseries and kindergartens in remote areas and far-off islets.


The Law on Education regulates universal free educational system (Chapter 2). Citizens of the state are obliged to attend secondary general education and benefits from the right to free education (art. 12).

Gifted children

According to the National Plan of Action for EFA for the period up to 2015, talented children need to be timely identified and provided with adequate early education. As part of the special education policy for the talented, North Korea established Pyongyang No. 1 Senior-middle School in 1984, where the national curriculum corresponds to the one for high schools in South Korea. By 1985, North Korea had established a No.1 Senior-middle School for each provincial government and started a full-scale special education program for the gifted. The No. 1 Senior-middle Schools are different from the ordinary schools in terms of teaching materials and the quality of their teachers.


  1. Governance

In 2010, with the intent to increase efficiency and improve the quality of education provision, the Ministry of Education was reorganized to incorporate the Ministries of Higher Education and General Education, and was renamed Education Commission.

The National Committee for the Protection of Persons with Disabilities is responsible for the implementation of the national laws and policies concerning persons with disabilities. Chaired by the vice-Premier of the Cabinet, the National Committee consists of, among others, the chairperson of the Education Commission, the Ministers  of public Health and Labour, nd Deputy leaders of the State Planning Commissions. Other members are from Ministries of Finance, People’s Security, State Construction Control, Urban Management, External Economic Relations, Light Industry, Sports and Physical Culture, Culture, Food Administration, Daily Necessaries, General Bureau of Designing and Central Bureau of Statistics, and chairpersons of the Associations of the Blind, Deaf and Woment with Disabilities, including  representatives fromprovincial, municipal and county committees for the protection of persons with disabilities.

Since 2005, the Korean Federation for the Protection of Persons with Disabilities contributes to implementing the State policy on the protection of persons with disabilities in close collaboration with the State.


  1. Learning Environments


According to the Law on the Protection of Persons with Disabilities, the construction, designing and urban management of public building needs to conform to the principle of providing convenient living conditions to persons with disabilities (art. 47). The 2009 Standards for the Designing of Building Spaces for Persons with Disabilities provides standards for designing appropriate buildings for persons with disabilities. The standards are expected to be revised and updated by the Ministry of State Construction Control and the General Bureau of Designing.

To improve the living conditions and education of children with hearing and visual impairment in six special schools in DPR Korea  a project  launched in late 2012 by Handicap International targets the renovation of premises (schools and dormitories), the construction of greenhouses to vary the diet of the children, and the supply of educational materials and teaching aids.


With a view to align their curricula to those of the 12-year compulsory education, Blind and Deaf Schools developed theirs in 2015, placing main emphasis on general education with appropriate proportion given to skill training

At general secondary education, the curriculum of special schools was updated, linked it with vocational training curriculum. The content of the latter at special schools

was also revised, tailoring it to the diverse jobs.

Learning materials

In accordance with the Law on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Women, the Education Commission identified and accordingly revised gendered attitudes and representations in textbooks.

New textbooks for Deaf and Blind Schools were compiled in the period of 2014-2018, publishing of textbooks for Deaf Schools were placed on IT basis and the process for the editing and printing of Braille publications was completed.


  1. Teachers and Support Personnel

Within the Central Teacher Training Centre of the Academy of Education, the Blind and Deaf Schools Special Education Department was set up to provide teachers with teaching methods and skills. The Centre organizes workshops and capacity building trainings, for instance on sign language and on how to create appropriate conditions and learning environment for children with disabilities. As required by the Law on the Protection of Persons with Disabilities service providers working at facilities frequented by persons with disabilities are regularly provided with training in Braille and sign language so that they can accommodate the needs of persons with disabilities

The early education class of sign language run by the Economic and Cultural Centre for the Deaf and Blind teaches sign language to children with hearing impairments as well as to those who so wish. It  organized four trainings in 2011 for the staff of the central committee and affiliated organizations of the KFPD.

Humanity and Inclusion organized also sets of training and seminars for teachers and staff from the Department for Special Education responsible for teaching methods and the adaptation of training course.


  1. Monitoring and Reporting

Information on the monitoring of inclusion in education has not been found

Last modified:

Mon, 05/10/2020 - 17:30