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.

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