North Korea Tells College Kids: Get To Work

North Korea has shut down its universities for the next 10 months, sending students to work in factories, farms and construction as the country attempts to rebuild a fractured economy, according to The Daily Telegraph (U.K.).

Reports in South Korea indicated that the government in Pyongyang on Monday ordered all universities to cancel classes until April of next year. The only exemptions are for students who will be graduating in the next few months and foreign students.

The reports suggested that the students will be put to work on construction projects in major cities while there are also indications that repair work may be needed in agricultural regions that were affected by a major typhoon recently.

Students on the cusp of graduation and foreign students will be exempt, the article said.

However, some North Korea experts have speculated the move may be a hedge against potential riots and civil unrest similar to that seen in Africa in recent months.

“The leadership has seen the ‘Jasmine Revolution’ in Africa and it is very frightened that the same thing could happen in North Korea,” said [Toshimitsu Shigemura, a professor at Tokyo’s Waseda University and author of a number of books on the North Korean leadership. “They fear it could start in the universities.”