SEJONG -- The government plans to dramatically extend the after-school care and education program for elementary school students in an effort to help relieve the burden of child care for working parents, officials have said.
Under the extension plan announced by the education ministry on Monday, after-school child care programs provided by elementary schools will be extended to the early morning hours from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m, and to 8 p.m., officials said.
Currently, only about 30 percent of the elementary school classrooms provide child care after 5 p.m., making it hard for working parents to balance child care and career.
Now, many working parents, especially mothers, drop out of jobs upon their children's entry into elementary schools where classes for freshmen end at around noon, earlier than kindergartens or nursery schools.
The education ministry plans to launch the extended program at about 200 elementary schools in four regions this month before applying it to all elementary schools across the nation by 2025, according to the officials.
As part of the plan, the ministry will also operate a special education program for elementary school freshmen to provide a variety of after-school activities, including sports, cookery and folk games.
For this year, the government will deploy 120 full-time workers to be in charge of arranging after-school classes and pump in a total of 4.2 trillion won ($3.38 million) by 2026 for the upgraded after-school program. (Yonhap)