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These are the ridiculous things North Korean kids have to learn in school

The development of a cult of personality in totalitarian states is nothing new, but it's still pretty shocking to discover the full extent of its impact in the pariah state of North Korea in 2016.

A new report by the Korea Institute for Curriculum Evaluation (KICE) has revealed just how much school time is dedicated to children learning about the lives of the dear leader Kim Jong-un, his father Kim Jong-il, his grandfather Kim Il-sung and his grandmother Kim Jong-suk.

While the most time is spent on studying the Korean language and mathematics - 1,197 hours and 821 hours during the five-year curriculum which begins citizens' 12-year mandatory education, respectively - learning about the ruling dynasty is the next biggest time outlay, clocking in at a huge total of 684 hours. This time is necessary in order for the state's education doctrine - for “students to acquire the concept of revolution and endless loyalty toward (North Korea’s ruling) party and the supreme leader (Kim Il-sung), while constituting the spirit to safeguard dear leader Kim Jong-un” - to be achieved.

Of course, learning about your country's history is not necessarily a bad thing - after all, we remember spending plenty of time attempting to memorise those former Kings and Queens, as well as Henry VIII's many wives - but what exactly are they learning about their ruling family? Well, as a communist nation, they are taught that everyone is equal and that they are engaging in a revolution of the workers, they also believe that they need the Kim dynasty - which has ruled since 1948 - to guide them. So, they need people to believe that they are slightly more talented than, perhaps, they really are...

  • These are the ridiculous things North Korean kids have to learn in school

    Kim Jong-il had a supernatural birth

    Kim Jong-il's official biography details how he was born on Korea's most sacred mountain, Mount Baekdu, in a secret military camp during the Japanese Occupation of North Korea. As he was born, a new star formed and the sky lit up, while a double rainbow appeared and the seasons changed from winter to spring. However, it is believed that Kim Jong-il was actually born in the Siberian village of Vyatskoye.

  • These are the ridiculous things North Korean kids have to learn in school 1

    Kim Jong-un was a child prodigy who learned to drive at the age of three

    South Korean TV station YTN discovered this claim in a manual issued to North Korean teachers for use in class, while children are also taught that Kim won a yachting race against a professional at the age of just nine.

  • These are the ridiculous things North Korean kids have to learn in school 2

    Kim Jong-il invented the hamburger

    Minju Joson, the North Korean newspaper, reported in 2009 that Kim Jong-Il had invented a brand new sandwich and named it, “double bread with meat”. To be fair, if we thought our leader had invented the hamburger, we'd swear our undying allegiance immediately.

  • These are the ridiculous things North Korean kids have to learn in school 3

    Kim Jong-il was a fashion icon

    In 2010, North Korean media reported that Kim's distinctive clothing had set worldwide fashion trends, with his trademark zip-up khaki tunic and matching trousers spreading across the globe faster than David Beckham's latest outfit. While we can't say for certain on the birth one, we can safely say this has never happened.

  • These are the ridiculous things North Korean kids have to learn in school 4

    Every single person in North Korea voted for Kim Jong-un

    In Kim Jong-un's first election, he achieved a voter turnout of 100% - and every person voted for him. This is actually better than his father Kim Jong-il, who only achieved 99.9%. While it is legal to vote for another candidate, the fact that you have to vote in front of a state official makes it rather unlikely that this will ever happen.

  • These are the ridiculous things North Korean kids have to learn in school 5

    Kim Jong-il was the best golfer in the world

    In 1994, North Korean media reported that Kim Jong-il had shot a 38 under-par round on an 18-hole golf course. Not only this but five shots were holes-in-one - and it was his first time ever playing the sport. If this wasn't enough sporting talent, he also seemingly scored a perfect 300 in bowling.

  • These are the ridiculous things North Korean kids have to learn in school 6

    Kim Jong-il wrote 1,500 books at university

    According to his official biography, the former leader, who spent three years attending the Kim Il-sung university in Pyongyang, wrote more than a book a day while he was studying. And there was us thinking finishing that dissertation was pretty good going.

  • These are the ridiculous things North Korean kids have to learn in school 7

    The leaders are gods

    The official biography of Kim Jong-il claimed that, as a perfect being, he never needed to use the toilet. It was confirmed in a book by North Korean concentration camp survivor Kang Chol-hwan, who wrote in his memoir, The Aquariums of Pyongyang, "To my childish eyes and to those of all my friends, Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il were perfect beings, untarnished by any base human function. I was convinced, as we all were, that neither of them urinated or defecated. Who could imagine such things of gods?"

  • These are the ridiculous things North Korean kids have to learn in school 8

    Kim Il-Sung was a war hero

    He is credited with almost single-handedly defeating the Japanese at the end of the occupation of Korea (ignoring Soviet and American efforts) and with rebuilding the nation after the Korean War. The fact that he failed to conquer the South of the peninsula is conveniently overlooked.

    (Images: Rex/iStock)