North Korea's parliament on Tuesday added a year to the country's education requirements but took no other overhaul steps, defying outside expectations for more significant action by the regime of new dictator Kim Jong Eun.

The Supreme People's Assembly meeting drew more than the usual attention outside North Korea because it was the group's second gathering of the year, a rarity for the nearly 700-member group whose chief role is to provide a veneer of legitimacy to the decisions of the country's authoritarian regime.

Since July, North Korean defectors in South Korea have heard reports from relatives and associates in the North that the regime was considering partial privatization of farming and loosening government control of some manufacturing. Such reports cited statements by the North Korean Workers' Party in local political meetings recently.