This study aims to examine the possibilities and limitations of after-school programs in Korea and
suggest an appropriate direction to pursue in order to strengthen the effectiveness of the programs.
The after-school programs appear to a certain extent to meet low-income children's developmental
needs of both cognitive and affective dimension. And the positive effects of the programs could be a
lot stronger when college students take on roles as mentors of young children. However, parents tend
to be skeptical about the quality of the activities offered in the after-school programs. In addition,
many students from poor families worry about the stigma of poverty that participation in the
programs entails. This being so, the current system of the after-school programs seems hardly a valid
and appropriate policy measure for reducing private education costs and bridging the educational gaps
evinced across the classes. In order to be an effective policy measure for reducing social polarization,
therefore, it is imperative that the after-school programs put rather much more emphasis as its goal
on caring for those low-income children who remain unattended after school than on reducing private
education costs and improving academic achievement of those children. In addition, speciality aptitude
education ought to be revitalized so that low-income children who are highly likely to remain
underachievers could get educational opportunities needed to find a meaningful alternative in the labor
market in the future.