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Baja California is planning to increase the number of full day elementary and middle schools and preschools from 68 to 121 during the 2012-2013 school year, the state education system said Wednesday.
Educators have long said that Mexico has been shortchanging its students and itself by having most schools meet in half-day sessions.
The education system, in a media release, said extending the school day will "increase educational opportunity for children. It also will improve educational results and develop and fortify the national curriculum."
Although the number of full-day schools is greatly increasing, it still represents only a fraction of the public schools in the state.
Baja California began full-day schools for basic education in 2010-2011, with 28 schools attended by by 4,763 students. In 2011-2012, the full-day program grew to 68 schools attended by 13,672 students. For 2012-13, the 121 full-day schools are expected to have more than 24,700 students.
The 53 schools entering the program are expected to begin operations on Oct. 15, meaning that those students will be attending half-day school before then.
The school hours will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for preschool, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for elementary school and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. for middle school.
The educational system indicated that the extended school hours may expand opportunities for physical education, the learning of English and for students to become more proficient in technology.
The creation of more full-day schools became a campaign issue in the July 1 presidential election, with candidates saying the idea would not leave students with a lot of idle time on their hands while their parent or parents were working.