ERG SES D 09, Tertiary and Lifelong Education
The paper presents author´s research-in-progress which deals with a private supplementary tutoring phenomenon in upper secondary schools in the Czech Republic. Private tutoring may be defined as “fee-based tutoring that provides supplementary instruction to children in academic subjects they study in the mainstream education system” (Dang, &Rogers, 2008). Moreover, it is tightly connected to school curriculum and aims to enhance pupils’ academic performance and also to increase their chances for successful transition to higher stages of education (e.g. to university). Obviously, it has some advantages such as individualized approach to pupils, aimed on their educational needs, investment in human resources etc. (e.g. Heyneman, 2011; Bray, 1999, 2009). Nonetheless, past research has already pointed out some disadvantages and possible negative impacts on the formal education system and equity in education. To illustrate, there might be tensions in a family budget and parental involvement, it might increase the chance for teacher corruption (public school teachers may neglect parts of the curriculum and provide it for a fee within paid tutoring sessions), tutored students might disrupt the atmosphere during regular school lessons etc. (Bray, 2003; Bray, 2009). Due to its paid nature, it might not be always affordable for all, a fact which might increase the social inequities (Bray, 2011).
Private tutoring is a global phenomenon and the academic research literature on this topic has expanded quite significantly in the recent decade (Bray, & Kobakhidze, 2014). As the earlier research focused mainly on Asian countries (for further reference see e.g. Bray, 1999), nowadays we are witnessing the growth in number of comparative studies focused on Europe (e.g. Silova, Budiene, & Bray, 2006; Bray, 2011; more recently Bray, Mazawi, &Sultana, 2013). These comparative studies along with many single country studies (e.g. Długosz, 2012 in Poland; Collas, 2013 in France; Luplow, &Schneider, 2014 in Germany; Acedo, &Popa, 2006 in Romania; Costa, Neto-Mendes, Ventura, &Azevedo, 2007 in Portugal etc.) have helped to outline general characteristics of the private tutoring phenomenon in Europe, although some gaps still remain. Unfortunately, the phenomenon has long been an ignored topic for academic research in the Czech Republic (Šťastný, 2014).
Author´s research project aims at diagnosis of this phenomenon, more specifically the scale, functions, content and conditions, under which the private tutoring is provided. In addition, it tries to determine what kind of students makes use of it taken from the point of their family background. Moreover, the author closely looks at the role of private tutoring in connection with transition to tertiary education. The project itself employs a mixed research design (qualitative in-depth interviews with private tutors combined with quantitative questionnaire survey among pupils). The key objectives of the paper are:
- to present the results of a quantitative questionnaire survey which was conducted among pupils in their last year of upper secondary schools,
- to compare these results with findings from other European countries,
- to identify similar patterns as well as those which seem to be unique in the Czech Republic compared to other European countries.
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