World’s Oldest University ― Koryo Songgyungwan University

Koryo Songgyungwan was the supreme educational institution for training feudal government officials in Koryo.

“Songgyungwan” means “educational institution”.

In 992, Koryo feudal state established the supreme educational institution called Kukjagam. In 1298, it was renamed Songgyungam, and in 1308, it was given the name Songgyungwan. In 1356, it was given back the former name Kukjagam, and in 1362, it was named Songgyungwan again.

In those days, Songgyungwan admitted the offspring of aristocrats to teach Confucianism, and people of lower classes and commoners to teach handwriting, arithmetic, law, etc.

Years of learning depended on the subjects ― usually one to three years. Songgyungwan had competent scholars possessed of profound knowledge to give education on a number of subjects as well as tens of school buildings and welfare facilities.

Noting that Songgyungwan was the supreme educational establishment of Koryo feudal state, President Kim Il Sung said that we should establish a university on the site so that we could display a real thousand-year-old university that succeeded to Koryo Songgyungwan, the supreme educational institution established in the period of Koryo. That is how “Koryo Songgyungwan” University of Light Industry was founded in Juche 81 (1992). It became a university with the longest history in the world. Bologna University of Italy, which was founded around 11th century, had been the world’s oldest one. But, instituted in 992, Koryo Songgyungwan University is proved to have been born about one hundred years earlier than Bologna University.

It is a great pride of the Korean nation to have the world’s oldest university with a history of 1 000 years.

Kim Son Yong, researcher at the Academy of Social Sciences