Category Archives: Mark Bray

Mark Bray, Comparative Education, University of Hong Kong

New Book on Supplementary Education Around the World

Janice Aurini, Scott Davies & Julian Dierkes (eds.)

Out of the Shadows: The Global Intensification of Supplementary Education

(International Perspectives on Education and Society, Vol. 22)

Emerald Publishing, Bingley UK: 2013.

Vertical Banner: Out of the Shadows - The Global Intensification of Supplementary EducationTable of Contents

“Out of the shadows? An introduction to worldwide supplementary education”
Janice Aurini, Scott Davies, Julian Dierkes (pp. xv – xxiv)

Part 1: Countries With High Intensity Forms of Supplementary Education

“The Insecurity Industry: Supplementary Education in Japan”
Julian Dierkes (pp. 3 – 21)

“Supplementary Education in Turkey: Recent Developments and Future Prospects”
Aysit Tansel (pp. 23 – 66)

“Researching Supplementary Education: Plans, Realities, and Lessons from Fieldwork in China”
Wei Zhang, Mark Bray (pp. 67 – 94)

“Private Tutoring in Vietnam: A Review of Current Issues and its Major Correlates”
Hai-Anh Dang (pp. 95 – 127)

“Supplementary Education in Brazil: Diversity and Paradoxes”
Alexandre Ventura, Candido Gomes (pp. 129 – 151)

Part 2: Countries With Low Intensity Forms of Supplementary Education

“Supplementary Education in a Changing Organizational Field: The Canadian Case”
Janice Aurini, Scott Davies (pp. 155 – 170)

“But did it Help you get to University? A Qualitative Study of Supplementary Education in Western Australia”
Martin Forsey (pp. 171 – 189)

“Supplementary Education in the United States: Policy Context, Characteristics, and Challenges”
Izumi Mori (pp. 191 – 207)

“Supplementary Education in Germany: History and Present Developments”
Thomas Koinzer (pp. 209 – 220)

Part 3: Comparing High and Low Intensity Forms of Supplementary Education

“Making Markets: Policy Construction of Supplementary Education in the United States and Korea”
Christopher Lubienski, Jin Lee (pp. 223 – 244)

“Family Capital: a Determinant of Supplementary Education in 17 Nations”
Darby E. Southgate (pp. 245 – 258)

Mark Bray Visiting UBC

Under the auspices of the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies International Visiting Research Scholar Program, Drs. Mark Bray and Ora Kwo (University of Hong Kong) are visiting UBC.

On May 13, they will be presenting some of their research under the title “Shadow Education: Comparative Perspectives on the Global Growth and Local Implications of Out-of-School Supplemental Education” (12:30-14h, Room 310, Neville Scarfe Building)


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

Mark Bray and Chad Lykins have just published the definitive current statement on supplementary education in Asia, “Shadow Education -Private Supplementary Tutoring and Its Implications for Policy Makers in Asia” as a book (PDF, available for free) through the Asian Development Bank.

Here’s a paragraph from their introduction that offers a flavour of the book:

Private supplementary tutoring is widely known as shadow education, since it mimics the mainstream. As the content of mainstream education changes, so does the content of the shadow. And as the mainstream grows, so does the shadow. This study shows that shadow education has a long history in parts of the region, but in recent decades it has greatly expanded. In the Republic of Korea nearly 90% of elementary students receive some sort of shadow education; and in Hong Kong, China, about 85% of senior secondary students do so. Figures are equally striking in less prosperous parts of the region. In West Bengal, India, nearly 60% of primary school students receive private supplementary tutoring; and in Kazakhstan a similar proportion of students do so at the senior secondary level. Proportions are lower in other countries, but throughout the region the shadow is spreading and intensifying. (p. X)

Countries covered in the book include: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Georgia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taipei, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam.

The report was released just as co-author Mark Bray was awarded was awarded a UNESCO Chair professorship in Comparative Education. Congratulations on the chair and the publication!

CIES 2012 Panel: Comparative Perspectives on Shadow Education

This panel will focus on the phenomenon of private supplementary tutoring, which is widely called shadow education. Research on this topic has expanded in the last decade, but much more work is needed. As in other topics, a great deal can be learned from comparative analysis. The panel will analyze patterns in different parts of the world, with particular focus Asia and the Arab States. It will also address methodological issues.
1.  Patterns of shadow education in the Asian region: learning from diversity and commonality
Mark Bray, Comparative Education Research Centre, The University of Hong Kong
2. Methodology in research about shadow education
Chad Lykins, Comparative Education Research Centre, The University of Hong Konk
3. Payoffs to private tutoring in the United Arab Emirates: a gendered affair
Samar Farah and Natasha Ridge, Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation, Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates
4. Drivers of shadow education in The Gambia: Addressing private provision of the public demand for quality education
Colleen King, Center for International Education, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
5. Hidden privatization of public education in Cambodia: equity implications of private tutoring
William Brehm , This Life Cambodia; Iveta Silova, Lehigh University, USA

CIES 2012: Patterns of shadow education in the Asian region: learning from diversity and commonality

Comparative and International Education Society

Mark Bray, Comparative Education Research Centre, Univ of Hong Kong

“Patterns of shadow education in the Asian region: learning from diversity and commonality”

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has commissioned a study of shadow education (private supplementary tutoring) in its regional member countries. The ADB region is wide and diverse. It includes prosperous countries in East Asia such as Japan and the Republic of Korea, and poor countries in South Asia such as Bangladesh and Nepal. Equally it includes countries shaped by a Soviet heritage and as well countries shaped by European colonial heritages. From a comparative perspective, the benefit of this diversity is that it brings a range of models and variables for analysis. This paper examines patterns in the scale and content of shadow education, noting changes over recent decades and likely future trends. It is mainly based on existing studies, and as such notes gaps as well as strengths in the literature. Finally, the paper remarks on the implications for the work of ADB, which is dedicated to reduction of poverty and which is concerned about social disparities while pursuing economic growth in the region.

AERA 2012: Private Supplementary Tutoring for Secondary School Students in Hong Kong

American Educational Research Association

Apr 15, 10:35-12:05h

Chad Lykins and Mark Bray, Comparative Education Research Centre, Univ of Hong Kong

“Private Supplementary Tutoring for Secondary School Students in Hong Kong: Scale, Nature and Implications”

Studies suggest that private supplementary tutoring is intensifying in scale, intensity, and importance, with many students regarding it as essential to satisfactory academic results. However, there is a lack of evidence about the nature of this tutoring, including the subjects studied, modes of delivery, and costs. This paper presents evidence on private supplementary tutoring from a mixed-method study involving a survey and group interviews with secondary school students in Hong Kong. It then analyzes this evidence in the light of research on the rapid growth and evolving nature of private tutoring in Hong Kong and throughout the world.

First Academic Job Ad to Specify Supplementary Education

As a sign of the growing institutionalization of research on supplementary education and the leadership of Prof. Mark Bray (Hong Kong Univ) in this field, the Comparative Education Research Centre at the University of Hong Kong is advertising a position as Full-time Research Assistant Professor in Comparative Education with a particular focus on Shadow Education at the University of Hong Kong:

Applicants are invited for appointment as Research Assistant Professor in Comparative Education in the Faculty of Education, as soon as possible for a period of three years.

Applicants should possess a Ph.D. degree with relevant research background and demonstrate ability to produce published work. The appointee will work under the supervision of Professor Mark Bray within the framework of the UNESCO Chair in Comparative Education which has been established at the Faculty level. This Chair focuses on social inequalities and access to educational opportunities, especially the nature and implications of Shadow Education (private supplementary tutoring). The appointee will join a team and take responsibility for either a global emphasis or a focus on a particular region or country in comparative perspective. He/She will work with colleagues in the Faculty including the Comparative Education Research Centre (CERC) on other dimensions in the field of Comparative Education, and will develop research proposals for future projects. Teaching responsibilities will be within the broad domain of education and international development at undergraduate and/or postgraduate levels.

Information about the Faculty and CERC can be obtained at and Enquiries about the post should be sent to Professor Mark Bray, Faculty of Education (e-mail:

A highly competitive salary commensurate with qualifications and experience will be offered, in addition to annual leave and medical benefits. The appointment will attract a contract-end gratuity and University contribution to a retirement benefits scheme, totalling up to 15% of basic salary.

Applicants should send a completed application form and an up-to-date C.V. to Application forms (341/1111) can be obtained at Further particulars can be obtained at Closes May 10, 2012.

The University thanks applicants for their interest, but advises that only shortlisted applicants will be notified of the application result.

This is a fantastic opportunity for a younger scholar, but also for our emerging field!

Where to Meet Nice Supplementary Education Researchers

For the most part, supplementary education research is relatively underdeveloped as an academic specialty.

Supplementary Education on

A quick example: on, six researchers have joined me in stating their interest as “supplementary education“. I don’t know any of them and six of them list their status as “independent researcher” which doesn’t bode well for someone setting out in an academic career. Is it on-going squabbles about terminology? No, it doesn’t seem to be as neither “shadow education”, “hypereducation” nor “supplemental education” have an entry. There are a ton of entries with “tutoring” as a word, but they are relatively unfocused.

Why No Subdiscipline of Supplementary Education Research

So why has research on supplementary education not established itself? Another way of asking that question is, why are there not more researchers interested in this topic?

For the years that my previous SSHRC grant ran, I was able to recruit a single MA student as an RA. I sent feelers out towards sociology as we as Ed Studies, but found no interest.

One reason for the sparsity of research is the relatively recent recognition of supplementary education as a phenomenon worth of academic study. In places like Japan, pundits and commentators have written about juku since the 1970s, but this has not led to a research literature. In most OECD countries, the current tutoring/supplementary education boom is a relatively new phenomenon and thus hasn’t attracted a lot of attention yet.

Also, supplementary education sort of sits between all disciplinary chairs. The good thing is that this means it is establishing itself as a genuinely interdisciplinary enterprise which is terrific. This interdisciplinarity not only means a variety of perspectives on the phenomenon (most prominently, perhaps, sociological, but a significant presence of ed studies and pedagogy, coupled with a smaller presence of anthropologists, geographers, economists, etc.), but also means a relatively greater proximity to policy.

Take the example of most education schools: If you look at traditional divisions within the study of education, you will find divisions such as primary, secondary, higher education, or life-long learning, but these examples already suggest that supplementary education doesn’t “fit”. For people focused on schools, juku seem to informal, for life-long learning types 塾生 are too young. That may be why research in this area seems to be coming from neigbouring disciplines rather than education itself in many cases.

CEIS as a Place to Meet

For some time then, the emerging community of supplementary education researchers has been struggling with setting up a centre to its activities or a regular place to meet. Following some discussions last year at the CIES meetings in Montreal, CIES seems to be emerging as a strong contender. Why? It is interdisciplinary, and highlights cross-regional and cross-national comparisons. While CIES is U.S.-based, it has regional and national equivalents throughout the world and a regular global meeting. It meets annually. It is of a nice size, i.e. big enough that participation always seems to yield new insights, but small enough that some lasting links can be built. And finally, it is a pretty friendly conference.

I am aware of several efforts to propose panels that will be focused on supplementary education in Puerto Rico next Spring. One proposal is anchored by Mark Bray of the Univ of HK who generally functions as the godfather to the emerging network of researchers, partly based on his long-standing work in this field, but also partly on his past role as past director of UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning which has given him a wonderful network of researchers around the world.

Hopefully I will be joining with Janice Aurini and Scott Davies – with whom I have collaborated in the past – on a panel proposal as well.

Further Institutionalization

Hopefully, regular meetings of some of the people in this emerging field at CIES will lead to further institutionalization in the form of a community of scholars to whom one can circulate work in progress and with whom one can collaborate on grant proposals and publications.

There is – as of yet – no journal or newsletter that focusses on supplementary education. Yet, there is a growing – albeit informal – network of researchers who focus at least some of their energy on research in this area.

Juku Policy: Areas of Regulation

Juku are currently not, nor have they been regulated in their function as education providers. They merely operate as any other service business would, i.e. with a business license.

The only regulation that has an impact on juku in terms of their teaching function is that teachers at public schools (in their role as public servants) cannot work at juku.

This is in contrast to other countries, for example South Korea, where supplementary education institutions are regulated as education providers not mere businesses.

In the South Korean case, hagwon are regulated primarily to attempt to reduce the impact that fee-based education has on access to education and thus on (in)equality. Attempts to regulate hagwon have stretched form an outright ban, to limits on fees that can be charged and hours of operation.

Similarly, in countries like Turkey where school teachers are directly involved in the provision of supplementary education, regulation is aimed at keeping track of hours worked by teachers in their regular school function as opposed to their supplementary education role.

Not only are juku not regulated in Japan, but the Ministry of Education continues to ignore them, at least officially when it comes to policy-making. Surely, some of the employees of the Ministry cannot have their heads buried so deep in the sand that they do not know about or acknowledge the existence of juku, especially as juku operators like to point out that bureaucrats are among the professions who are virtually guaranteed to send their children to juku.

I agree entirely with Mark Bray who has pointed out in several of his publications that it would behoove policy-makers to have an accurate sense of who is availing themselves of supplementary education, for what purposes, in what subjects, for how long and with what financial and equity consequences.

If policy-makers were to decide to address supplementary education based on an understanding of its operation, regulation could potentially focus on a) consumer protection, b) educational standards, or c) health and safety.

Consumer Protection

When it comes to quality assurance and consumer protection, there have been periodic discussions in Japan of encouraging or even requiring some kind of certification of instructors at juku. This would surely be welcomed by corporate juku, especially if the training required for certification would be relatively costly, but not intrusive on teaching methodologies, etc. Given the setting of the juku industry, a standardized examination comes to mind as an obvious solution, and corporate juku would surely begin to offer courses to prepare candidates for this examination within hours of its creation.

For smaller juku who rely on casual labour to a greater extent, certification would be yet another costly barrier to their operation. The introduction of some kind of certification may thus hasten the demise of smaller juku who may well be the more likely source of substantive innovation than corporate juku who are beholden much more to economic drivers in their operations.

Oddly, teacher certification or at least some kind of indication of any kind of teacher training does not seem to be demanded by parents, nor students, so any impetus for such regulation does not seem to be coming from consumers themselves.

Educational Standards

Another area of quality assurance and consumer protection would be a requirement to document the efficacy of juku offerings. This would obviously be very difficult in a situation where 塾生 are free to enrol and leave a specific juku at will.

Some kind of accounting for the efficacy of juku instruction would address consumer protection concerns as much as it would a concern for the quality of education provided and thus its contribution to national development.

Elsewhere I write about attempts to measure the impact of supplementary education. It would require a huge public effort to implement some kind of testing system that would give parents and students a real indication of any contributions that particular juku might make to the education of a student. This testing system would likely become such a monstrous beast in and of itself, especially in a system that is already rife with testing, though this would also mean that few parents or operators might object, that it would not seem to be worth the effort of offering more sophisticated consumer information.

In my mind these considerations demonstrate the absurd ends to which arguments for accountability can be taken.

Health & Safety

Addressing health and safety concerns related to children’s participation in supplementary education seems the most straight-forward measure to take. This seems to be, in fact, the approach that authorities in Taiwan and Hong Kong are taking, where they require the registration of juku as such and address safety standards through local regulation. Some possible measures could include regulation of maximum number of students per classroom (as in Hong Kong), minimum space and furniture standards for students, some kind of ombudsman role to report abuses, etc.

Many juku have implemented CCTV systems on their premises to assure students’ safety and they also offer systems that address safety (and truancy) concerns regarding students’ commute to and from juku. It has always struck me as ironic that the area of most active self-regulation on the part of juku seems to be the commute to and from the juku when crime rates and real dangers to students are in fact very low.

In another post, I write about challenges to regulating juku.

Report on Shadow Education in Europe Released

A new report on participation in supplementary education in Europe has just been released.

More than 50% of school pupils receive private tuition in some EU countries, according to a new report published by the European Commission. The report, which is the first to look at the issue across the EU, shows that parents are spending several billion euros a year to supplement their children’s education. Tutoring is widespread in southern European countries such as Greece (spending estimated at more than €950 million per year, which is equivalent to 20% of government expenditure on primary and secondary education), Spain (€450 million), Italy (€420 million) and Cyprus (€111 million), but much less popular in northern Member States such as Sweden and Finland, where schools appear to largely satisfy expectations. The scale of tutoring has increased in France (€2.2 billion per year and growing at an estimated 10% a year), Germany (up to €1.5 billion), and Austria (€126 million). There are also indications of significant increases in the UK and Belgium. The decline in the purchasing power of teachers’ salaries has been a major factor in driving the expansion of private tutoring in Eastern European countries. Spending in Romania, for example, is estimated at €300 million per annum.Demand for private tutoring principally comes from high-achievers and is fuelled by pressure on youngsters to do well in exams and by ‘social competition’. The report points out that private tutoring reflects – and exacerbates – social inequalities. Private tutoring is much less about pupils who are in real need of support and much more about maintaining the competitive advantages of the already successful and privileged, it says. Financial cutbacks have also reduced the extent to which educational institutions can provide individual learning support within school. The report suggests that private tuition can restrict children’s leisure time in a way that is psychologically and educationally undesirable. The report, which was prepared for the Commission by the Network of Experts in Social Sciences of Education and Training, is available as a PDF

My comments and observations will come once I’ve had a chance to look at the report.