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. 

CERC Management Committee meeting

On June 9, 2021 the CERC Management Committee met to discuss the 2020-2021 annual report and prospects of international projects and collaborations in the next academic year.

On June 17, 2021, CERC will hold its Annual General Meeting. The meeting will start at 12.15 with a report from the Management Committee and will conclude with a talk “On Teaching Comparative Education in Asia: Selected Portraits and Features” by Professor Sheng-Ju Chan, National Chung Cheng University, Taiwan (12.45-13.45).

In the picture above, [sitting, from left to right], Mark Bray, UNESCO Chair and a former CERC Director, Liz Jackson, EduHK Professor of International Education and a former CERC Director, and Yang Rui, Professor of Chinese Higher Education and Associate Dean-Research, Faculty of Education; [standing, from right to left], Nutsa Kobakhidze, MC member and convener of SIG-Shadow Education, Peter Cobb, MC member, Anatoly Oleksiyenko, CERC Honorary Director and convener of SIG-Higher Education, and Alex Fedorov, Interim Secretary.

All AGM participants will enjoy a limited-time offer – 50% off on all CERC books and monographs.

To register for the AGM, please use this Zoom registration link:…/tJUrcuivqz4qHtOmJ5w9-TWlP18lG5PJNBtj

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’. 

Reaching Audiences through Different Media

Following the launch of the CERC book Shadow Education in Africa: Private Supplementary Tutoring and its Policy Implications, efforts have been made to reach diverse audiences. Two channels for doing so are:

The book is also the focus of a FreshEd podcast during which Professor Bray was interviewed by Will Brehm. 

The FreshEd interview was wide-ranging, and touched on Brehm’s own studies of private tutoring in Cambodia. His book Cambodia for Sale: Everyday Privatization in Education and Beyond has just been published by Routledge. It is based on his PhD thesis completed at the University of Hong Kong. The remarks during the podcast showed some similarities between parts of Africa and of Southeast Asia. 

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!

The Shadow Education SIG events on 2nd and 9th of February

The Shadow Education SIG held two events on 2nd and 9th of February. MED students from HKU: Jiali Chen, Robert Liu, Mako Kato and Ming Yue NG made the presentations of their research projects on mainland China, Hong Kong SAR, and Japan. Thank you to many guests who joined from all over the world.

Shadow Education in Africa

CERC is pleased to announce the latest volume in its Monographs series. It is written by Mark Bray  and entitled Shadow Education in Africa: Private Supplementary Tutoring and its Policy Implications. It can be downloaded free of charge here, or purchased in paper copy for HK$100 or US$16 including postage.

The book builds on a Working Paper for UNESCO’s  Global Education Monitoring Report, which for the 2021/22 edition focuses on  non-state actors in education. Shadow education is recognized as a component on non-state activity of growing scale and significance.

The book addresses both Sub-Saharan and North Africa, and draws many lessons from comparative analysis. It is the first comprehensive work on shadow education in Africa, and as such is a significant milestone in the field. Particular attention is paid to regular teachers who also provide tutoring, and to private-sector enterprises.

Other CERC books about shadow education focus on: