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Private Tutoring and Mainstream Education Linkages in India: A Political Economy Approach

On July 12, Shadow Education SIG members gathered on Zoom to listen to a presentation by Miss Shalini Bhorkar on Private Tutoring and Mainstream Education Linkages in India: A Political Economy Approach. 

Currently, Shalini is a doctoral candidate at the Institute of Education, UCL. She is also an HKU graduate from the Comparative and Global Studies in Education and Development (CGSED) MEd program.

Attendees included the SIG members from Hong Kong, Mainland China, the UK, Uzbekistan and Japan.

Admission Olympics: Expanding Tutoring Market for Kindergarten Interviews in Hong Kong

Date: July 15, Thursday, 2021
Time: 10 am to 11:30 am HKT 

Zoom Registration link:

Dr Alfredo Bautista, Associate Professor and Associate Head, Department of Early Childhood Education, The Education University of Hong Kong

Dr Nutsa Kobakhidze, Principal Investigator, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong
Ms Janice Chui, Research Team Member, Former Primary School teacher, MSc. Candidate in the Department of Education, Oxford University, UK
Janisa Hui, Ed.M. Research Team Member, Former Playgroup Teacher. Pursuing PhD Degree in the College of Education, University of Maryland – College Park, USA

Hong Kong is a fast-paced city where busy parents with high aspirations could be under immense pressure. To improve their children’s chance of success in the highly selective process of kindergarten admission, some parents outsource admission preparation to tutorial companies. Over the past decade, interview classes i.e. classes which prepare children for kindergarten interviews have grown in popularity among parents.

This session presents the findings from a qualitative study conducted in mid-2020, which examined the processes and mechanisms involved in kindergarten admission, with a particular focus on understanding the interview class market. The study covered a diversity of views from 78 participants including parents (local and non-local), kindergarten teachers, interview service providers, policy-makers and early childhood educators.

The Knowledge Exchange seminar invites non-academic communities such as parents, teachers, tutors, school leadership and policy-makers. The speakers will discuss implications of the study findings for child development, well-being and education. Special attention will be paid to how the COVID-19 pandemic changed the nature of kindergarten admission preparation services in Hong Kong. 

Shadow Education SIG seminar, 28 May 2021

On May 28, during the Shadow Education SIG seminar, Weilin Wang (HKU PhD student) and Robert Liu (HKU MEd student) spoke about shadow education research in Mainland China. Weilin shared his thoughts on how start tutors in China use examination-oriented pedagogy to help students with Gaokao preparation, while Robert shared emerging findings from his pilot study on A-level students’ use of private tutoring in an international school.

Research Collaborations and Innovation: Who Makes Strategic Decisions in Science and Scholarship?

Organizer: Comparative Education Research Centre, Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong

Speaker:  Professor Marek KWIEK

Director, Institute for Advanced Studies in Social Sciences and Humanities (IAS)

UNESCO Chair in Institutional Research and Higher Education Policy

University of Poznan, Poland

Date: May 18, 2021

Time: 18:00-19:15 (Hong Kong Time)

Format: Zoom

Please register: Click here


Publications are a major determinant of successful academic careers. Individual scientists make collaboration and authorship decisions: choosing team or solo publications, same-sex or mixed-sex collaborations, local, national or international collaborations? Past authorship decisions, including the choice of academic journals, bear on the availability of future external research grants as well as on opportunities for employment, promotion and tenure. Different types of collaborations have impact on inequalities as well as on innovation in science. In this presentation, Professor Kwiek will elaborate on dilemmas of collaborations in (1) local-national-international, (2) solo-team, and (3) male-female formats. He will also speak on how these collaborations have been driving innovation in the Polish national system of higher education and academic profession, and contributing to the Polish Excellence Initiative.

Brief bio:

Professor Marek Kwiek is the UNESCO Chair in Institutional Research and Higher Education Policy and Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Social Sciences and Humanities (IAS), University of Poznan, Poland. His research interests are science of science, quantitative science studies, higher education research, and sociology of the academic profession. His current studies focus on research collaboration and social stratification in science. He has published about 200 papers and book chapters and 8 monographs. In 2020, he published in Higher EducationStudies in Higher EducationScientometrics, and Journal of Economic Surveys. In 2019, he published a book: Changing European Academics: A Comparative Study of Social Stratification, Work Patterns and Research Productivity (Routledge). He has also served as a Principal Investigator in 25 international higher education research projects, and has been an editorial board member for Higher Education QuarterlyEuropean Educational Research JournalBritish Educational Research JournalEuropean Journal of Higher Education and for a Springer book series Higher Education Dynamics. He can be followed on Twitter @Marek_Kwiek

French-language edition of Shadow Education Book discussed by Ministers of Education in Africa

On 15 April 2021, CONFEMEN (Conférence des ministres de l’Éducation des États et gouvernements de la Francophonie), which is headquartered in Senegal, hosted high-level webinar focused on the CERC book written by Mark Bray L’éducation de l’ombre en Afrique (i.e. the French translation of the book Shadow Education in Africa: Private Supplementary Tutoring and its Policy Implications).

The event was co-hosted by France Éducation International, which is an arm of the French government responsible for international relations in the education sector. 

Following introductions by CONFEMEN Secretary-General Abdel-Rahamane Baba-Moussa and FEI Director-General Pierre-François Mourier, Mark Bray presented the book. Then six Ministers of Education and/or their representatives spoke, namely: 

  • Chad: Aboubakar Assidick Tchoroma,
  • Gabon: Camelia Ntoutoume-Leclerq,
  • Guinea: M. Bah,
  • Guinea Bissau: Arcenio Adulai Baldé, 
  • Senegal: Chaikana Lam, and
  • Togo: Dodzi Kokoroko.

Other speakers included:

  • Alioune Sall, Director of the African Futures Institute (AFI), 
  • Manos Antoninis, Director of UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring Report, 
  • David Atchoarena, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, and  
  • Koumbou Boly Barry, Chief of Education in ICESCO, and United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education.

All speakers recognized the need to focus more clearly on private supplementary tutoring, especially in the context of social inequalities. More data are needed and wider discussion in order to ‘take the topic out of the shadows’. 

2021 annual conference of the Comparative Education Society of Hong Kong

As a co-sponsor of the 2021 annual conference of the Comparative Education Society of Hong Kong, CERC welcomes comparative education researchers from around the world. The greeting message from Dr. Anatoly V. Oleksiyenko, CERC Director can be watched below.

This year’s theme is “Geopolitics of Knowledge and Education Policy”. The schedule and registration details are available at (Zoom links embedded). You can still sign up!

Shadow Education SIG on Zoom, 18 November 2020

The Shadow Education SIG members met virtually on November 18, 2020 to listen to a presentation by Mr Li Jun, a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Education, HKU.

Li Jun’s presentation was entitled: “Lessons from the Fieldwork: Researching Private Tutoring Entrepreneurs in the Context of Chongqing, China”

The SIG was well attended by current and new members.

Shadow Education SIG meeting, 30 October 2020

Dr Achala Gupta, a Research Fellow in the Department of Sociology at the University of Surrey in the UK, made a virtual presentation for the Shadow Education SIG on October 27. The presentation title was: “Teacher-entrepreneurialism: a case of teacher identity formation in neoliberalizing education space in contemporary India.” The presentation was based on an article, published in Critical Studies in Education –DOI: 10.1080/17508487.2019.1708765

The SIG’s was chaired by Dr Nutsa Kobakhidze and well-attended by SIG’s previous, current and new members.

Shadow Education SIG Meeting, 20 July 2020

Three of our MEd students presented at the virtual Shadow Education SIG on July 20.

Sissy Chen’s presentation title was “Parental Perspective on Private Tutoring in TOEFL and SAT in Chengdu, China”. Andrey Khojeev focused on “University Teachers as Private Tutors: Towards Multiple Professional Identities in Uzbekistan”, and finally, Eric Dong spoke about “Researching the shadows: Design and key findings of a systematic literature review on mainland Chinese private supplementary tutoring (2000–2019)”.

The SIG was well attended by regular members and guests. Please wish our MEd students all the best in writing up their dissertations.

This was the final SIG in this semester.

It will come back in September with next topics, speakers and guests. Have a great summer!

Shadow Education SIG Meeting, 14 July 2020

On July 14th, the Shadow Education SIG members gathered virtually to listen to a presentation by a PhD candidate Ms Pubali Ghosh. The presentation title was: “The influence of macrosystem interactions on the construction of private tutoring decisions among senior secondary students in West Bengal, India.”

The SIG was joined by Prof Mark Bray from HKU, Dr Steve Entrich from University of Potsdam, Dr Dr Siyuan Feng from HKU, Hugo Horta from HKU, Dr Achala Gupta from UCL IoE, and Dr Kevin Yung from the EDuHK, graduate students and many of SIG’s current and previous members. The SIG was chaired by Dr Nutsa Kobakhidze from HKU.

During the meeting, the SIG members had an opportunity to ask questions and comment on Pubali’s ongoing longitudinal study on private tutoring in West Bengal, and provided her with critical and constructive feedback.

The SIG serves as a support group for graduate students and young scholars interested in shadow education and privatization of education broadly speaking. If you’d like to become a member of the SIG, please let us know.