Late start school program expands to Seoul

January 29, 2015
Children greet each other at an elementary school in Daejeon City, South Chungcheong Province, on Jan. 5, 2015, while touring the school two months ahead of beginning first grade. (Yonhap)

Children greet each other at an elementary school in Daejeon City, South Chungcheong Province, on Jan. 5, 2015, while touring the school two months ahead of beginning first grade. (Yonhap)

By Kim Se-jeong

At least 368 elementary, middle and high schools in Seoul will start classes at 9 a.m. from March 1, the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education (SMOE) said Thursday.

Superintendent Cho Hee-yeon said more schools will decide to join the late start scgiik program, which was first adopted by Gyeonggi Province Education Office last September, in February.

“So far, elementary schools have shown high participation rate,” Cho said.

Seoul has 1,301 schools with some starting as early as 7:30 a.m.

Yoon Oh-young from SMOE said participation by middle and high schools is likely to be low.

The program aims to improve the quality of life for students by giving them time to eat breakfast with their parents and to sleep more. A Gyeonggi Province education official said more than 90 percent of 2,250 schools have joined the program.

Some students said they liked the program, while others complained about it.

Incheon announced earlier this month that some schools will implement the proposal from March. Education offices in Daejeon and South Chungcheong Province say they are considering implementing the program.

According to the Korea Federation of Teachers’ Association’s Seoul chapter, eight teachers out of 10 opposed the program in a survey conducted between November and December last year.

Parents of students, especially in high schools, argue the change will do more harm than good to pupils preparing for the university entrance exam.


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