Child care expansion includes after-school classes

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Child care expansion includes after-school classes

Starting next year elementary schools will provide after-school classes to first- and second-graders until 5 p.m. as part of an effort to expand after-hours child care programs within the public education system, the Ministry of Education announced yesterday.

The ministry said the program will be expanded to include third- and fourth-graders in 2014 and fifth- and sixth-graders in 2016.

While the after-school programs will end at 5 p.m., additional child care services will be provided at schools for the students who require extra care, such as children of working parents or single parents and low-income families.

The extra-care services will last until 10 p.m.

The ministry said it conducted a survey in May to assess childcare needs. According to the survey, 454,000 of the 850,000 first- and second-graders - including 123,000 who will use the late-night program - are expected to participate.

As of now, 140,000 first- and second-graders are attending existing after-school child care service at schools.

The ministry said the expansion of the program will require 610.9 billion won ($572.5 million), a significant increase from this year’s budget of 291.8 billion won for the after-school programs.

The money will be allocated to local governments as grants to use toward the expansion and operation of local after-school programs.

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