Currently, kindergartens provide diverse extracurricular programs according to the various needs and demands of parents. The government is presently attempting to manage the quality of these diverse programs. As part of a government-level quality management effort, this study aims to 1) develop accreditation indexes and procedures for extracurricular programs that meet parents' diverse educational needs and provide the most appropriate education to children in accordance with their development and age; 2) conduct pilot operations based on the indexes and procedures; and 3) devise a system for identifying and implementing improvements. To achieve these goals, this study made use of relevant material, conducted research, analyzed case studies, formed an evaluation committee, conducted pilot studies and held consultative meetings.
According to the advices provided by experts at the consultative meetings, an accreditation process was renamed as a recommendation process before pilot operations were undertaken. Among the 89 programs over the four areas―language arts, mathematics/science/creativity, culture/arts, and sports/physical education―that applied for the pilot operations, nine programs were selected, based on a preliminary evaluation. However, no program was recommended at the end of the pilot studies. Our finding produced the following conclusions.
To improve the process of the pilot operations, the study suggests that it is necessary to 1) adjust the evaluation schedule; 2) provide ample time to review materials; 3) strengthen on-site evaluation; 4) consider the importance of the role of instructors; 5) extend the evaluation target programs; 6) expand the pool of evaluators; and 7) improve the website of the recommendation procedures. To improve the evaluation indexes, the study suggests that it is necessary to 1) clarify and strengthen the philosophy behind the evaluation indexes; 2) differentiate indexes of extracurricular programs from those of national kindergarten curriculum; 3) revise evaluation standards and the scoring system of the indexes; 4) revise items in each area of evaluation; and 5) explain criteria for evaluation items in detail.
In terms of future policy directions for the recommendation process, the study suggests that it is necessary to 1) ensure that the direction of the recommendation process is aligned with the goal of improving extracurricular programs and quality control; 2) ensure that extracurricular programs are specialized in subject matters; and 3) make a desion whether or not to expand the recommendation system in nation-wide. In terms of a detailed action plan, the study suggests that 1) independent organizations dedicated to the recommendation process should be established; 2) measures to develop and support extracurricular programs should be implemented; 3) measures to manage and control ethical issues should be introduced; 4) developers of extracurricular programs should be provided with opportunities to fully understand the evaluation indexes; 5) a pool of appropriate evaluators should be expanded; 6) a pool of instructors should be formed; and 7) follow-up reviews and management processes should be improved.