Welcoming a shadow education researcher from Europe

CERC has an international team focusing on the shadow education system of private supplementary tutoring. In November 2015, the team was pleased to welcome Vít Šťastný from Charles University in Prague. Vít is among the few Czech researchers working on this theme, in his fourth year of PhD studies. He found the resources to spend one month in CERC, and we feel that it was very beneficial for both sides. Below are some of Vít’s reflections.

Academic research on shadow education is still in its infancy in the Czech Republic. Therefore, I was very keen to visit CERC to discuss themes with other PhD scholars and with established researchers. My university indicated that it could provide financial support through its Mobility Fund at the university level and what is called SVV 22015-260228 at the faculty level. I was very pleased when Professor Mark Bray accepted my request to visit and allowed me to join CERC for one month.

On my first day, I presented findings from my research in the Czech Republic to members of the shadow education Special Interest Group (SIG). It was very valuable to discuss, compare and defend my results in a friendly and welcoming atmosphere; and by meeting the colleagues on the first day, I had immediately established contacts for follow-up discussion.

CERC-32-coverLater that week I joined the launch of the new CERC book Researching Private Supplementary Tutoring: Methodological Lessons from Diverse Cultures. Two of the editors, Mark Bray and Ora Kwo, led the discussions in conjunction with Zhang Wei who had completed her PhD thesis on this topic in China and with Kevin Yung and Nutsa Kobakhidze who are PhD students working on Hong Kong and Georgia respectively. This is the first book to focus on methods in this explicit field. The launch showed ways in which it had been a community-building exercise for the contributors themselves.

I also wanted of course to learn more about Hong Kong and broader affairs. CERC has many other dimensions to its work, and I was able to join a dozen seminars on a range of topics. I joined several MEd classes in which I found a very vibrant atmosphere. I was able to learn about dimensions of education policy, particularly on language and on dimensions of equity. Through the discussions, I reflected on my own society and in this respect learned even about the Czech education system!

IMG_0118The integration into the SIG and feedback from the CERC colleagues made me think about
shadow education in a wider perspective and conceptualize my findings on a global scale rather than just the European or national context. It was a great privilege and benefit, for which I express appreciation to both CERC and my own University.

UOBI shall also be glad to continue the discussions. Readers are invited to email vit.stastny@pedf.cuni.cz