The Newsletter 56 Spring 2011

Supplementary education in Asia

Julian DierkesMark Bray

The theme of this issue of the Newsletter, supplementary education, embraces lessons beyond school time in domains that relate to the offi cial school curriculum. The focus is on programmes that charge fees and are operated by the private sector. Japan’s juku and South Korea’s hagwons are major manifestations of this phenomenon. In some countries, teachers provide extra lessons for their students in exchange for a fee. Other forms of supplementary education include one-to-one tutoring by university students for secondary students.

The existence of supplementary education may be contextualised within wider patterns. Education has become increasingly central to national self-perception and public discourse. Some of this prominence has been stimulated by UNESCO’s Education for All (EFA) agenda and by the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Some policy themes and research foci – such as accountability, choice, and excellence – have spread globally and serve as cornerstones for public debates and understanding. Yet despite this attention, the growth and spread of supplementary education has generally escaped public scrutiny. The phenomenon deserves more attention, in Asia as much as in the rest of the world, especially since some of the most securely institutionalized systems of supplementary education can be found in Asia.

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