23 SES 08 B, Out of School Educational Activities and Students' Leisure Time
In recent years private supplementary teaching – more commonly known as ’shadow education’ – has by all indications grown rapidly in Europe (Bray 2011), including in Scandinavia, which has traditionally been considered a bulwark of comprehensive public education. However, in Scandinavia the contrast with the strongly developed (or ‘extreme’) Asian cases is regularly used to dismiss shadow education as a minor occurrence without substantial systematic effects. In this paper we seek to use Asian experiences in a different way - that is, by asking instead what and how researchers can learn from the developed and better studied Asian cases.
Recent studies on the shifting relations and roles of public and private education (e.g. Ball 2012; Burch 2009; Steiner-Khamsi et al. 2016; Cantini 2016) has documented how private actors increasingly shape contemporary education systems. However, they mostly leave out or only mention in passing the role of supplementary education in shaping educational trajectories and outcomes. In contrast, we draw on research on shadow education in two Asian contexts – India and Singapore – where shadow education sectors are among the most elaborated and socially and economically consequential in the world (Christensen 2015; Ørberg forthcoming). We use these cases as sites for the generation of research questions for the Scandinavian and European cases.
The paper consists of two parts. The first part explores the Asian cases to highlight a number of substantive questions about shadow education and its current transformations on a global scale. The second part uses these “Asian” questions to suggest a number of comparative ‘meta-questions’ that the rise of shadow education in Scandinavia pose to our understanding of our education systems and to our understanding of supplementary education practices in it.
The paper thus advances (and to some extent questions) existing research on shadow education by raising two inter-related issues:
- the relationship between shadow education and the state. We scrutinize here the notion of ‘supplementarity’ underlying the majority of research on shadow education. It is generally assumed that shadow education ‘mimics’ formal education (its subjects, its seasonal rhythms, its forms of pedagogy etc.). While this is surely often the case, there are indications that shadow education is increasingly developing its own educational agendas that impose new directions (in terms of curricula and pedagogy as well as funding) on the formal system. This can also be connected to the increasing incorporation and public visibility of shadow education operators, testifying, perhaps, to the growing importance of shadow education for national regimes of human capital formation.
- the diversity of shadow education practices. In research on shadow education (e.g. Aurini et al. 2013) it is increasingly recognized that shadow education operators are becoming more diversified (from small neighborhood outfits to global chains) and that pedagogical formats are also becoming more diverse. Even so, definitions of shadow education remain restricted to the teaching of academic (or ‘academic-oriented’ (Aurini et al. 2013)) subjects. We want to ask, however, whether our understanding of the dynamic of shadow education might be enhanced if we include also various forms of ‘enrichment’ (from brain training and thinking skills to sports and performing arts) to the extent that they serve as strategies to improve prospects of success within the formal education system. This diversification of shadow education might also be linked to the proliferation of education reforms which seek to make a wider range of human capital (apart from purely cognitive skills) relevant for advancement in formal education.
Andersen, Hans Christian (2001 ): The Shadow in The Complete Illustrated Stories of Hans Christian Andersen, pp. 380-387. London: Chancellor. Aurini, Janice, Julian Dierkes and Scott Davies (Eds.) (2013): Out of the Shadows: The Global Intensification of Supplementary Education. Bingley, UK: Emerald Ball, Stephen (2012): Global Education Inc. New Policy Networks and the Neo-Liberal Imaginary. London: Routledge. Bray, Mark (2011): The Challenge of Shadow Education: Private Tutoring and its Implications for Policy Makers in the European Union. Brussels: European Commission, 79 pp. Burch, Patricia (2009): Hidden Markets: The New Education Privatization. New York: Routledge. Candea, Matei (2016): ‘De deux modalités de comparaison en anthropologie sociale.’ L’Homme 218(2). Cantini, Daniele (Ed.): Rethinking Private Higher Education. Ethnographic Perspectives. Leiden: Brill. Christensen, Søren (2015): ’Healthy competition and unsound comparison: reforming educational competition in Singapore.’ Globalisation, Societies and Education 13:4 Verger, Antoni, Christopher Lubienski & Gita Steiner-Khamsi (2016): World Yearbook of Education 2016: The Global Education Industry. New York: Routledge Ørberg, Jakob Williams (2017 – forthcoming): ‘Uncomfortable encounters between elite and “shadow education” in India - Indian Institutes of Technology and the Joint Entry Exam coaching industry.’ Higher Education.
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