TLC Visits Hong Kong

Three TLC staff members travelled to the Hong Kong Institute of Education to present on the Cambodian system of private tutoring at the annual meeting of the Comparative Education Society of Hong Kong. Sen Se, Billy Gorter, and Will Brehm showcased their planned participatory research methods on the study of private tutoring, which is intended to inform the school support committee at Krabei Reil Lower Secondary School.

In the contemporary private tutoring system in Cambodia, students pay to learn in the same school with the same teacher from formal school simply to meet the minimum requirements of the national curriculum and to supplement historically low teacher salaries. TLC has teamed up with the Open Society Institute—with contribution of the Education Support Program of OSI Budapest—to explore issues of inequity arising out of such a system. Although Cambodia is “meeting” enrolment rates inline with the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals, the private tutoring system has become a location for inequality to continue to thrive, as children unable to pay private tutoring costs are excluded from receiving a full national curriculum. The goal of the research is to shine a light on the practices and effects of the system of private tutoring.

The research sparked excitement among many of the conference participants. Most notably, one of the first scholars of the study of private tutoring expressed interest and offered support in TLC’s research efforts. Dr. Mark Bray (pictured with the three TLC staff) spoke highly of TLC’s research team’s presentation. Dr. Bray is the Chair Professor of Comparative Education and Director of the Comparative Education Research Centre (CERC) at the University of Hong Kong. Between 2006 and 2010 he worked in Paris as Director of UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP).

TLC is focused on developing educational and sustainable development projects that directly benefit the lives of children and their communities in rural Cambodia. Research is a fundamental component in addressing complex issues such as barriers to education. The aim of TLC Research is to provide the communities with whom TLC works with information on pressing issues affecting the provision of public education. TLC plans to complete its research on the equity and quality differences between formal school and private tutoring by December 2011.

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