Shadow Education: Private Supplementary Tutoring and Its Implications for Policy Makers in Asia

Mark Bray and Chad Lykins

Published in May 2012

ISBN 978-92-9092-658-0 (Print)
ISBN 978-92-9092-659-7 (PDF)

Price: HK$100/US$16

Published by Comparative Education Research Centre (CERC) in collaboration with Asian Development Bank (ADB)


The book can be downloaded for free.
For the Chinese version: click here to download.
For the Russian version: click here to download.
For the Vietnamese version: click here to download.


In all parts of Asia, households devote considerable expenditures to private supplementary tutoring. This tutoring may contribute to students’ achievement, but it also maintains and exacerbates social inequalities, diverts resources from other uses, and can contribute to inefficiencies in education systems. Such tutoring is widely called shadow education, because it mimics school systems. As the curriculum in the school system changes, so does the shadow.

This study documents the scale and nature of shadow education in different parts of the region. For many decades, shadow education has been a major phenomenon in East Asia. Now it has spread throughout the region, and it has far-reaching economic and social implications.