North Korea seeks to boost English education with robot teachers – Enhance intelligence

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Videos of the different robots in action were broadcast on North Korean state network KRT on Wednesday, reports Reuters. The machines are reportedly used at a university in Pyongyang and were assembled to help children learn basic maths, music and English.

“I help teach educational technology that enhances children’s intelligence,” said the 80-centimetre (31.5 inches) tall robot in a female voice, waving its arms.

With scowling blue eyes and a North Korean flag across its chest, the toy-like robot is seen roaming around a classroom.

Two other similar plastic robots with a humanoid appearance seem to be part of the same program.

One featured a smiley face on a screen embedded inside a white round head, while another wore a blue plastic suit and white-rimmed glasses, the KRT footage showed.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has been pushing for education reform in recent years by spurring technological and scientific innovation.

The news outlet interviewed a university professor who said developing the robot teachers was a real challenge as some

“Upgrading this robot’s intelligence was difficult for me as someone who majored in psychology,” said Professor Park Kum Hee.

“It was the words of our respected Comrade General Secretary (Kim Jong-Un) on adopting artificial intelligence technology in education that has always guided me on the right track.”

Two primary school children said a few words in English on-screen.

“Hello? Nice to meet you. Nice to meet you, too. What’s your name?” they said from the front of the classroom.

North Korea reopened schools in June of last year, but made it mandatory for children to wear masks in classes and washing stations were installed.

“Temperature checks using infra-red thermometers, hand washing facilities and sanitisers continue to be in place in all public places including shopping malls, restaurants and hotels,” Dr Edwin Ceniza Salvador, head of the WHO in North Korea, said.

“It is mandatory for all people to wear masks in public places and no public gatherings are allowed.”

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While local news praises the country’s technological achievements, North Koreans are facing a starvation crisis.

“Problems such as more orphan children on the streets and death by starvation are continuously being reported,” Lee Sang Yong, editor-in-chief of the Daily NK, told the BBC.

“The lower classes in North Korea are suffering more and more,” as food shortages are worse than expected, Mr Lee said.

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