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Policies for Shadow Education in Myanmar

On 18 September 2018, Mark Bray, Nutsa Kobakhidze and Ora Kwo presented a CERC seminar about their UNESCO-funded research in Myanmar. This work was conducted with support from the Yangon University of Education (YUOE), and has led to a manuscript that in due course will be published in CERC’s monograph series.

The CERC seminar noted that 10 days later the work would be considered by Myanmar’s Ministry of Education. The Ministry had organised a full morning for presentation and discussion. The event was opened by the Deputy Minister for Education, and brought together both policy-makers and practitioners from Naypyitaw, Yangon and elsewhere.

The HKU team was proud to see the CERC logo alongside the HKU, YUOE and UNESCO logos on the stage. The report was presented by Mark Bray and Ora Kwo, with support from Zhang Wei, Liu Junyan and Peter Suante (pictured below, left to right).


“This was is the first empirical study of its kind in Myanmar,” remarked the coordinator in the UNESCO office. “The government is taking its findings seriously, and will identify its policy implications within the context of the National Education Strategic Plan.”


The CERC team is delighted to have had the opportunity to conduct the study over a period of two years. It looks forward to ongoing dialogue with stakeholders in Myanmar, and will also disseminate the findings internationally.

The Policy Brief prepared by the authors can be downloaded here.

Regulating Private Tutoring Book Launch in Bangkok

launch2UNESCO’s Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education (UNESCO Bangkok) has today launched a book entitled Regulating Private Tutoring for Public Good: Policy Options for Supplementary Education in Asia.  

The book focuses on the extensive scale of private tutoring in countries of the region, regardless of their development status. For example surveys have found that:

  • in Hong Kong, 54% of Grade 9 students and 72% of Grade 12 students receive private supplementary tutoring;
  • in India, 73% of children aged 6-14 in rural West Bengal receive tutoring;
  • in the Republic of Korea, the proportion reaches 86.8% in elementary school; and
  • in Vietnam, respective proportions in lower and upper secondary schooling are 46% and 63%.

The tutoring consumes huge amounts of household finance, and has far-reaching implications for social inequalities, let alone the huge implications it has for school education services. Yet few governments have satisfactory regulations for the phenomenon.

 The book’s authors are Mark Bray, UNESCO Chair Professor in Comparative Education at the University of Hong Kong, and Ora Kwo, Associate Professor in the same University. They have worked on this theme for over a decade, much of it in collaboration with UNESCO.

launch1“UNESCO’s mandate permits and demands attention to this important issue,” remarked Professor Bray. “The organization coordinates the global Education for All (EFA) agenda, and leads the shaping of the post-2015 education framework. It is strongly concerned about equitable access to quality education.” UNESCO provides an arena in which governments can learn from each other about policies that are desirable and feasible.

Regulations for teachers and companies

One major question is whether teachers should be permitted to provide private supplementary tutoring. This is permitted in some countries but prohibited in others. Particularly problematic are settings in which teachers tutor the same students for whom they are already responsible during regular school hours. This situation encourages corruption, with the teachers reducing effort during normal hours in order to promote demand for the private lessons.

A separate question concerns companies. Most governments require tutorial companies to register, but are more likely to treat them as businesses than as educational institutions. Regulations for tutoring companies are only beginning to catch up with those for schools, but are arguably almost as important. Governments have a responsibility for overall social and economic development, which includes ensuring an appropriate environment for private sector institutions.

Learning from comparing

Gwang-Jo Kim, Director of UNESCO Bangkok, highlighted patterns in the Republic of Korea (ROK), with which he is intimately familiar as he served as Deputy Minister of Education there before joining UNESCO. The ROK government has devoted most effort to regulations over the longest period. “Yet even ROK has not yet found all the answers,” remarked Mr Kim. “Governments can see the challenges as well as useful strategies in the South Korean case.”

In South and Southeast Asia, in any case, conditions are rather different from those in South Korea. UNESCO has long recognised the diversity in the region, whether in the contexts or in the experiences. The lessons in this book highlight the value of comparisons across countries in all categories.

Regulating Private Tutoring for Public Good: Policy Options for Supplementary Education in Asia

Mark Bray and Ora Kwo

ISBN 978‐988‐17852‐9‐9

March 2014; 93 pages;


Published by Comparative Education Research Centre (CERC) in collaboration with 
the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizaton 

The book can be downloaded for free or ordered from CERC.
Recent years have brought global expansion of private supplementary tutoring alongside regular school systems. This expansion has far-reaching implications for the nurturing of new generations, for social and economic development, and for the operation of school systems. Some dimensions are positive while other dimensions are problematic.

Supplementary tutoring is especially visible in Asia. The formats of tutoring range from one-to-one provision to large classes. Some tutoring is provided by teachers and by specialist companies, while other tutoring is provided informally by university students and others.

Using a comparative lens, this book examines possible government responses to the expansion of private supplementary tutoring. In general, the book suggests, the sector should be given more attention. The work shows wide diversity in the regulations introduced by governments in the Asian region. It notes not only that these governments can learn much from each other, but also that policy makers in other parts of the world can usefully look at patterns in Asia. The book also stresses the value of partnerships between governments, tutoring providers, schools, teachers’ unions, and other bodies.

Mark BRAY is UNESCO Chair Professor in Comparative Education at the University of Hong Kong, and is a former Director of UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning.

Ora KWO is an Associate Professor and a member of the Comparative Education Research Centre in the Faculty of Education at the University of Hong Kong.

Review published in:

Asia Pacific Journal of Education, Volume 34, Issue 4, 2014: 518-519

Giáo dục Ngoài luồng: Học thêm và Ý nghĩa của nó đối với các Nhà hoạch định Chính sách ở châu Á


Screen Shot 2013-04-05 at 10.36.36 PM

Tại tất cả các khu vực của châu Á, các hộ gia đình đang dành một khoản chi tiêu đáng kể cho học thêm. Việc học thêm có thể góp phần vào những thành tích đạt được của học sinh nhưng đồng thời nó cũng duy trì và và làm cho bất bình đẳng xã hội thêm trầm trọng, làm chuyển hướng các nguồn lực vốn được dùng cho mục đích khác và có thể góp phần vào sự không hiệu quả của các hệ thống giáo dục.

Việc học thêm được nhìn nhận chung là giáo dục ngoài luồng vì nó bám theo hệ thống trường chính khóa. Khi chương trình giảng dạy của hệ thống chính khóa thay đổi, chương trình giảng dạy của giáo dục ngoài luồng cũng thay đổi theo.

Tài liệu nghiên cứu này ghi nhận quy mô và tính chất của giáo dục ngoài luồng tại những địa bàn khác nhau trong khu vực. Trong nhiều thập kỷ, giáo dục ngoài luồng đã trở thành một hiện tượng lớn ở Đông Á. Giờ đây nó đã lan rộng ra toàn khu vực và có những ý nghĩa xã hội và ý nghĩa kinh tế sâu rộng.

Bạn có thể tải về bản sao Việt Nam ở đây


  • Lời nói đầu
  • Tóm lược Tổng quan
  • Giới thiệu
  • Phác thảo bức tranh toàn cảnh
  • Cung và Cầu
  • Tác động của Giáo dục Ngoài luồng
  • Ý nghĩa đối với các nhà hoạch định chính sách
  • Kết luận
  • Phụ lục: Các quy định về học thêm
  • Tài liệu tham khảo

Education in the Commonwealth: Towards and Beyond the Internationally Agreed Goals

Return to Other CERC Books.

7747045744_db972d4f6b_bTrey Menefee
Mark Bray

2012, 245pp.

Published by the Commonwealth Secretariat,
Produced by the Comparative Education Research Centre (CERC)


Download the book (Dropbox, Google Drive) or visit the book website


Every three years the Ministers of Education and senior officials of the 54 Commonwealth countries convene to share experiences and advance on common agendas.

The 18th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (CCEM) was held in Mauritius from 28 to 31 August 2012. It focused on progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Education for All (EFA) goals.

Mark Bray and Trey Menefee were contracted by the Commonwealth Secretariat to produce the lead statistical document containing country ‘report cards’, which they presented during the opening session of the Ministers’ meeting. In this seminar they will share observations both on their report, on the nature of the Ministers’ meeting, and on the wider agenda concerning new goals beyond 2015.

Centralization and Decentralization: Educational Reforms and Changing Governance in Chinese Societies

Return to CERC Studies in Comparative Education.

cerc-13Edited by: Mok Ka-Ho

2003, 230pp.

ISBN 10: 962-8093-58-4
ISBN 13: 978-962-8093-58-8

HK$200 (local), US$32 (overseas)

Published by Comparative Education Research Centre (CERC) and Kluwer Academic Publishers

Order from CERC or online

Preview on Google Books


Globalization has brought dramatic changes to the character and functions of education in most countries around the world. However, the impact of globalization on schools and universities is not uniform. One public-policy strategy that has been widely adopted is decentralization; but there is no consensus on whether centralization or decentralization is more effective to improve organization and management in education.

This book is contextualized in the literature on globalization, and examines how policies of decentralization have affected the running of education in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Shanghai, Singapore, Macau and Mainland China. It analyzes the strategies that the governments of the selected societies have adopted in reforming the structure of education system, mobilizing different forces to create more educational opportunities and devising new measures to assure quality in the education sector.

Mok Ka-Ho is Associate Dean in the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences at the City University of Hong Kong. He has written extensively in the domains of public policy and comparative education.

Internationalizing Higher Education: Critical Explorations of Pedagogy and Policy

Return to CERC Studies in Comparative Education.

cerc-16Edited by  Peter Ninnes & Meeri Hellsten

2005, 231 pp.

ISBN 10: 962-8093-37-1
ISBN 13: 978-962-8093-37-3

HK$200 (local), US$32 (overseas)

Published by Comparative Education Research Centre (CERC) and Springer

Order from CERCSpringer, or online.

Preview on Springer or Google Books

Globalization is a multifaceted phenomenon, and one of its major components is the internationalization of education. The increasing pace and complexity of global knowledge flows, and the accelerating exchange of educational ideas, practices and policies, are important drivers of globalization. Higher education is a key site for these flows and exchanges. This book casts a critical eye on the internationalization of higher education. It peels back taken-for-granted practices and beliefs, explores the gaps and silences in current pedagogy and practices, and addresses the ambiguities, tensions and contradictions in internationalization. In this volume, scholars from a range of disciplines and regions critically examine the commodification of higher education, teaching and support for international students, international partnerships for aid and trade, and the impacts on academics’ work.

Peter Ninnes is Coordinator of the Centre for Research on Education in Context at the University of New England, Armidale, Australia. His research interests include comparative and international education, the cultural politics of education, and education in post-conflict societies. He is currently President of the Australian and New Zealand Comparative and International Education Society.

Meeri Hellsten is a lecturer in education at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. Her research interests are cross-cultural and comparative education, socio-cultural and identity issues in education, e-learning pedagogies, and effective teaching and learning in higher education. She convenes and teaches on a large undergraduate unit in educational psychology.