Asia Pacific Education Review

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 495–509 | Cite as

The effectiveness of private tutoring: students’ perceptions in comparison with mainstream schooling in Hong Kong

  • Shengli Zhan
  • Mark Bray
  • Dan Wang
  • Chad Lykins
  • Ora Kwo


This paper examines Hong Kong students’ perceptions on the effectiveness of private supplementary tutoring relative to mainstream schooling. Drawing on survey and interview data, it shows that large proportions of secondary school students receive private tutoring. Students generally perceive private tutoring and private tutors to be more effective in the provision of examination support compared with mainstream schooling and teachers. However, perceptions vary according to students’ self-reported academic levels and motives for taking private tutoring. The operations of the parallel sector of private tutoring have significant implications for the nature of schooling and therefore need to be considered by teachers and school administrators. The Hong Kong data contribute to the international analysis of private tutoring and add a significant component to the wider conceptual literature.


Private tutoring Shadow education Perceived effectiveness Examinations 



The research reported in this paper was funded by the General Research Fund (GRF) of the Hong Kong Research Grants Council (RGC), Project 741111. The authors also acknowledge inputs from Emily Mang and Nutsa Kobakhidze.


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Copyright information

© Education Research Institute, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shengli Zhan
    • 1
  • Mark Bray
    • 1
  • Dan Wang
    • 1
  • Chad Lykins
    • 1
  • Ora Kwo
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of EducationThe University of Hong KongPokfulamHong Kong

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