SEOUL, April 4 (Korea Bizwire) — The government will work to accommodate an additional 200,000 young students in all-day after-school day care centers this year, President Moon Jae-in promised Wednesday, a move partly aimed at supporting working mothers and tackling the country’s record low birthrate.
“Launching an all-day care system is a key policy objective of our government. Difficulties in raising children leads to a low birthrate and this in turn leads to a collapse of a community,” the president said while meeting with school parents at a local elementary school.
The president noted the all-day day care service was currently available to about 330,000 elementary school students across the nation.
He pledged to increase the number to 550,000 before the year’s end.
“The lack of care for students after school makes it difficult for their parents to work and raise children at the same time, and it is especially becoming one of the largest reasons for women to quit jobs after giving birth,” Moon said of the reason for his new policy objective.
Under the all-day day care system, an additional 100,000 students will be allowed to stay in school under the care of their teachers or other caretakers until their parents finish work. Another 100,000 will be accommodated at new after-school day care centers.
“Children have the right to be cared for. The all-day day care system is the way for the government to protect that right,” the president told the meeting.
The expanded day care system for school children follows an earlier expansion of public kindergartens and day care centers for preschool children, which supposedly offer much better services than private institutions and at a much lower cost.
The Moon Jae-in administration added 373 new public day care centers in seven months since its inauguration in May 2017. The president said the government will add at least 450 new day care centers each year for the remainder of his single five-year term.