After-school program participation surpasses expectations, challenges remain

Elementary school students attend an after-school volleyball class at Maseong Elementary School in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province, March 25. Yonhap

After one month of operation, after-school care program aimed at providing child care services and education are showing promising signs of success with an increase in the number of participating schools and students. However, challenges such as a lack of instructors remain as expected.The Ministry of Education said Wednesday that after a month of implementation, 37 percent more schools than the government’s estimate are participating in the before and after-school program called Neulbom School.The program is part of the government’s initiative to address the low birthrate by easing the child care burden for working parents, offering various educational and child care services from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. to elementary school students while their parents are at work.Currently, the program is only available to first-graders. The government plans to expand it to include higher grades starting from the second semester of this year.

Initially, the government planned to introduce the program to 2,000 schools nationwide in March, about one-third of elementary schools nationwide.However, as of now, 2,838 schools have implemented Neulbom School. With more elementary schools in Seoul and Gwangju planning to start the program in April, it is expected that about 48 percent of all elementary schools nationwide will run the program in the first semester.The number of students attending Neulbom classes has also increased by 1.4 million compared to March 4, the starting day of the program. Approximately 74.3 percent, which is 136,000 students of the 2,838 elementary schools, are participating in the after-school care initiative.Parents taking advantage of the services are also responding positively, expressing that it is beneficial for children to take part in various activities in school, 슬롯놀이터 which are considered safer than private education institutions.

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