After-school program off to slow start with low participation rate in Seoul

Elementary school students read books during an after-school program at a classroom in Seoul, Monday. Yonhap

Only 6 percent of elementary schools in Seoul operate after-school programs — even though the child care services were initiated nationwide on Monday .The programs, which run from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., provide various educational and child care services to elementary school students while their parents are at work. This initiative is part of the government’s policy to address the low birthrate by alleviating the child care burden for working parents .Currently, the programs are provided only to elementary first-graders, but the government plans to expand eligibility gradually to higher grades after the first semester this year. According to the education ministry, only 38 out of 606 schools in Seoul, or about 6.3 percent, run such programs, making the capital the only region with a participation rate of less than 10 percent nationwide. The notably low participation rate in Seoul raises concerns regarding the policy’s efficacy, considering that Seoul’s total fertility rate is 0.55 as of 2023, which is the lowest among 17 cities and provinces nationwide.

Other regions also show participation rates below 50 percent, such as Sejong at 47 percent. And a few even fall below one-third participation, such as Daejeon at 0 percent and South Chungcheong Province at 28 percent .Busan and South Jeolla Province saw all of their elementary schools start their own programs .Securing teachers is another challenge the programs are facing .A teachers’ union in Seoul pointed out that each school requires at least five new teachers in order to run after-school programs effectively .According to the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education, a total of 208 teachers are currently deployed to the after-school programs at 38 schools, but 74 of them have existing commitments, including principals and vice principals of each school .Teachers express worries about the increased administrative workload related to after-school programs.

“An increasing administrative workload not only burdens teachers but may also impact students through a decline in the quality of education if there isn’t sufficient time for teachers to prepare for regular classes,” said an elementary school teacher surnamed Lee. South Chungcheong Province also faces the challenge of hiring 240 new education officials dedicated to the programs. Meanwhile, the government plans to expand the programs to all elementary schools nationwide, which is approximately 6,000 schools, in the second semester this year. Elementary schools that started the programs in the first semester will provide a two-hour tailored program for all first-year students who attend after-school programs. Consequently, school hours will be delayed from 1 p.m. to around 3 p.m. This aims to help students adjust to school and reduce the child care burden for working parents. The government also seeks to mitigate the demand for private education. Furthermore, the government plans to broaden the scope of participants in the programs, which is currently confined to first graders, to second graders next year, and ultimately to all elementary school 카지노사이트 students by 2026.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *