SEOUL, Aug. 12 (Korea Bizwire) — Private education institutions are offering help to families with two breadwinners or single moms or dads who are struggling to find help with childcare during the school summer vacation period.
In response to high demand among parents, private academies are offering morning classes as well as snacks and lunches, turning into a ‘second home’ for many children.
Taekwondo schools, in particular, have long been providing day care services to children during school vacations.
“It’s no longer taekwondo itself that’s bringing the children to taekwondo schools. Now, it’s more about how much they can offer day care services that meet demand from parents,” said one taekwondo school official.
“There are obviously concerns that the day care services these schools provide are not as sophisticated as public day care centers. Well, this is partly because the government is just not doing enough.”
Taekwondo schools, an unlikely place for day care, are an ideal choice for many parents since they cost a lot less than other private institutions during school vacations.
One English school franchise, for instance, offers special courses to elementary school students during summer and winter vacations.
For a three-week program, the students are provided with snacks and lunchboxes, and are taught English from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
The cost of the program for each student is 1.4 million won (US$1,152).
The exorbitant cost is forcing many parents to send their children to day care classes at schools that accept a limited number of students.
Applicants need to draw a lot in order to join these programs. Those who draw a losing number have to wait until someone withdraws from the day care program.
In 2016, more than 1,100 elementary school students applied for day care programs at schools in Gyeonggi Province, all of whom were rejected.
“As there are more families with two breadwinners, children that need day care services, particularly those among the lower grades in elementary schools, are being driven out to private institutions due to a lack of access and safety,” said Hong Min-jeong, a policy head at the World Without Worries For Private Education, a civic group.
Hong called on the government to come up with a policy that can resolve the ‘day care gaps’ within the sphere of public education.
Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)