1st Edition

Shadow Education in the Middle East Private Supplementary Tutoring and its Policy Implications

By Mark Bray, Anas Hajar Copyright 2023
    122 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This volume offers insights into the role of private supplementary tutoring in the Middle East, and its far-reaching implications for social structures and mainstream education. Around the world, increasing numbers of children receive private tutoring to supplement their schooling. In much of the academic literature this is called shadow education because the content of tutoring commonly mimics that of schooling: as the curriculum changes in the schools, so it changes in the shadow.

    While much research and policy attention has focused on private tutoring in East Asia and some other world regions, less attention has been given to the topic in the Middle East. Drawing on both Arabic-language and English-language literature, this study commences with the global picture before comparing patterns within and among 12 Arabic-speaking countries of the Middle East. It presents the educational and cultural commonalities amongst these countries, examines the drivers of demand and supply of shadow education, and considers the dynamics of tutoring and how it impacts on education in schools.

    In addition to its pertinence within the Middle East itself, the book will be of considerable interest to academics and education policy makers broadly concerned with changing roles of the state and private sectors in education.

    The Open Access version of this book, available at www.taylorfrancis.com, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.

    1. Introduction 2. Global Perspectives on Shadow Education 3. Middle East Contexts 4. Scale and Nature of Private Shadow Education 5. Educational and Social Impact 6. Policy Implications 7. Conclusions


    Mark Bray is Distinguished Chair Professor and Director of the Centre for International Research in Supplementary Tutoring (CIRIST) in the Faculty of Education at East China Normal University, Shanghai. He is also Emeritus Professor holding the UNESCO Chair in Comparative Education at the University of Hong Kong. He has written extensively on shadow education in many settings across the world.

    Anas Hajar is Associate Professor of Multilingual Education, and the PhD Programme Director, in the Faculty of Education at Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan. He is particularly interested in motivational issues in language learning and in intercultural engagement. He also works in the areas of shadow education, internationalisation, education abroad, and language learning strategies.

    "This is an important book which marks a new stage in the mapping of private tutoring around the world. So far, too little attention has been given to the Middle East in the literature on private tutoring. Mark Bray and Anas Hajar rectify this. Drawing on a wide range of Arabic- as well as English-language sources, they display an acute sense of patterns as well as differences across the region. Written in a clear and lucid style, this book will be of equal use to academics and policymakers."

    Søren Christensen, Aarhus University, Denmark

    "This is the first regional study for the Middle East on the very important topic of private supplementary tutoring, which is widely called shadow education. The authors stress the need to ‘take the topic out of the shadows’, with public discussion among all stakeholders. Such discussion may be at multiple levels, from school and community at one end to national and supranational at the other end. The book will indeed be welcomed at multiple levels within, across, and beyond the 12 countries on which it has specific focus."

    Mahra Hilal Almutaiwei, UNESCO Regional Center for Educational Planning

    "The book exhibits the authors’ erudite knowledge about shadow education and familiarity with private tutoring nuances. It reflects extended documentary research on academic papers and official documents, supplemented by formal and informal interviews. The authors walk the reader step by step throughout the book, outlining how this learning mode is viewed and supplied and how it impacts on public schooling."

    An excerpt of a review by Abdu Al-Kadi in Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03057925.2022.2149106

    "This book is a welcome addition to the bulk of international research on private tutoring that has focused on other world regions, especially on countries in East Asia. It extends the existing literature towards the Arab Middle Eastern region and illuminates the current state of private tutoring in the Arab world. By delving into key challenges and salient opportunities associated with private tutoring in this region, Shadow Education in the Middle East
    is a must-read for academics,researchers, education policymakers, parents and the general public interested in the field of private tutoring."

    An excerpt of a review by Abdel Latif Sellami in International Review of Education, DOI:

    "The approach of this book, together with its topicality and relevance, raises a realistic and the viable epistemology…. It is recommended for educational policy makers at different levels, researchers, and others interested in the "shadow education" system of private tutoring."

    A translated excerpt of a review by Leonel Mauricio Álvarez Norales in Revista Española de Educación Comparada, DOI: https://doi.org/10.5944/reec.42.2023.36144

    "After an overview of literature on shadow education around the world, the authors describe the educational, economic and social contexts of the Middle East countries, the diversity of practices, and their extent and effects on the functioning of educational systems and society. They then show the disparity between national regulatory frameworks and policies. The book is accompanied by a very complete and up-to-date bibliography."

    A translated excerpt of a review by Thierry Chevaillier in Revue internationale d’éducation de Sèvres, DOI: https://doi.org/10.4000/ries.12700

    "Owing to the multifaceted implications of SE on student learning, well-being, social inequalities and its backlash on formal education, SE is probably the most significant international trend in education in the twenty-first century. The authors of this book further contribute to filling the blind spots on the global SE map by providing a first comparative study (in English) on SE in the Middle East."

    An excerpt of a review by Steve R. Entrich in Comparative Education, DOI: 10.1080/03050068.2023.2238479


    "Bray and Hajar’s work serves as one of the few to compile and examine existing studies on private supplementary tutoring across the Middle East. In doing so, it both creates an impetus for the continued study of such practices in the region, while also underscoring the need to examine the impact of shadow education on student achievement as well as the efficacy of education systems more broadly."

    An excerpt of a review by Janaan O. Farhat in Gulf Education and Social Policy Review, DOI: 10.18502/gespr.v4i1.13809