HKU's Faculty of Education Presented a Critical Review on Private Tutoring in Hong Kong
27 Oct 2005
Private tutoring, considered a shadow of our education system, deserves more attention than ever.
A research conducted by Professor Mark Bray, Dean of the Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong, has critically evaluated the Government's current policies on tutoring with a comprehensive review of its scale, nature, impact on mainstream schooling and the society at large, as well as implications on social inequalities, household expenditure and children's self-esteem.
In his research, Professor Bray found that the nature of tutoring is varied: "Tutoring can be conducted from tradition form of one-to-one, in small groups or large classes to in huge lecture-theatres with overflow rooms by video. Besides, 'Internet tutoring' has brought tutoring into a new dimension by releasing service providers and users from a fixed venue, which makes tutoring even more difficult to be monitored or regulated."
Scale of tutoring varies widely as well. Hong Kong seems to be near the top end, with about 50% of primary and lower secondary pupils receive tutoring; and at upper secondary the proportion is about 70%. Other societies where tutoring is especially prominent are Japan, Korea and Taiwan.
Professor Bray discovered that tutoring may affect the dynamics of teaching and learning in mainstream classes: "if all students receive tutoring, mainstream teachers may not need to work so hard. However, when some students receive tutoring but others do not; mainstream teachers therefore find greater disparities within their classrooms. Some teachers respond by assisting the slower learners; but others may take the students who receive tutoring as the norm, and permit the gaps between students to grow."
Tutoring also has impact on society as well. Tutoring increases the intensity of academic study students have, hence reduces their time available for sports, social interaction and relaxation. Besides, tutoring increases the social inequality, as it is more easily available to the rich than to the poor.
Finally, Professor Bray's study has called on more government's ttentions and actions in regulating and monitoring private tutoring: "Though the Education and Manpower Bureau, the governing body of education policy in Hong Kong, has updated its regulatory framework by requiring tutorial centres to register and follow providing fire escapes in 2004, but individual and small-group tutoring are not covered by these regulations. As private tutoring becomes more and more popular among students in Hong Kong, can the government still regard formal schooling as its sole main responsibility and leave tutoring for market mechanism or self-regulation?”
For enquiries, please contact Ms. Cherry Cheung, Senior Press Officer, The University of Hong Kong at 2859-2606.