Report: N.Korea closes universities, students pick up tools

SEOUL - North Korea has told university students to put their studies on hold for a year to join efforts to revitalize its broken economy ahead of its heralded emergence next year as a "great and prosperous nation", a top diplomat and media reports said.
The British ambassador to North Korea, Peter Hughes, said while there had been no official announcement from Pyongyang, students in the capital had been mobilized to work at nearby construction sites until April 2012.
"Some two years ago the DPRK (North Korea) announced that it would build 200,000 units of accommodation in the city to ease the chronic housing shortage," he said.
"To date only some 10,000 units have been built, so the students have been taken out of universities in order to speed up the construction of the balance before major celebrations take place in April 2012 to commemorate the 100th birthday of the founder of the DPRK, Kim Il Sung."
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