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.

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