Yoon underscores importance of public education in childcare

SEOUL, President Yoon Suk Yeol reiterated the importance of public education in childcare Monday, underscoring the government's commitment to expanding after-school programs to all elementary schools. Yoon made the remarks during a government-public debate, the ninth in a series of sessions addressing people's livelihood issues. The event took place at a public elementary school in Gwangju, just outside Seoul. "Public education should be at the center of education in a democratic society, and ultimately, schools should be at the center of public education," Yoon said, adding childcare is part of the president's constitutional responsibility. Yoon also emphasized the government's plan to extend after-school education programs to all elementary schools. According to the program, first graders can avail themselves of care services from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. The initiative was pilot-tested for first graders at 459 elementary schools in 2023. "(The program) will be expanded to 2,000 schools by the first half of t he year, encompassing all schools by the latter half of the year, and by 2026, all elementary school children will be able to benefit from the service," Yoon said. Citing a survey, Yoon mentioned that 83.6 percent of prospective parents expressed a desire to participate in after-school care services. "As the president, my top priority is to create a country for children, a country where children can be happy," Yoon said. Source: Yonhap News Agency