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Locked in: understanding the ‘irreversibility’ of powerful private supplementary tutoring markets

Exley, Sonia (2022) Locked in: understanding the ‘irreversibility’ of powerful private supplementary tutoring markets. Oxford Review of Education, 48 (1). 78 - 94. ISSN 0305-4985

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Identification Number: 10.1080/03054985.2021.1917352


Private supplementary tutoring (PST) is a phenomenon growing throughout the world. Looking at regions such as East Asia where it is already vast and comparing with regions where it remains modest but is rising, some authors have argued that countries must act quickly to discourage negative societal implications which arise when PST grows. One underpinning suggestion here is the notion that addressing PST may be time-critical. Drawing on insights from political science on the nature of continuity and change, in this paper I explore the possibility that societies could become substantially ‘locked in’ to complex patterns of dependence on PST. I report on the case of South Korea, drawing on interviews with experts in the Korean education system. I show that parents have been incentivised progressively over time to layer ‘shadow education’ over public schooling, particularly in times of heightened anxiety. Governments meanwhile have faced disincentives to restrict PST and public school teachers have had to adjust to becoming perceived as offering a residual service.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Author
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: University Structure > Language Centre
Date Deposited: 14 Apr 2021 08:51
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 20:03

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