Understanding a form of shadow education emerging in South Africa : a case study of a private supplementary tuition programme in Johannesburg.

Gapare, Ben T. M.
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Private supplementary tuition is a field of study that has almost been neglected worldwide, by academic scholars and governments alike, despite its complex social and economic implications for society. International research on the field defines all private supplementary tuition programmes as shadow education. By increasing the cost that parents have to pay for their children to succeed at school, it is argued that shadow education exacerbates already existing social inequalities. Yet, in South Africa, contrary to international literature on the field, innovative funding models exist to assist children of poor individual households and/or parents to benefit from the service provided by shadow entrepreneurs who are paid either by government or the private sector through Corporate Social investment (CSI). Thus, this study aims to add to the literature on shadow education by investigating how one privately administered supplementary tuition programme in South Africa can assist in closing the gap of educational inequalities for some families. The aim of this study is to explore the nature of one private supplementary tuition programme provided by a service provider, through the experiences of a sample of seven grade 12 learners from Johannesburg that in 2010 took part in the programme. This research takes the form of a qualitative case study and the sources of data used in the research are programme records and interviews. The finding of the study shows that such a tuition programme funded through private funds and delivered by a private service provider provides new opportunities for how such shadow education can help curb rather than exacerbate already existing inequalities in society. Such an outcome therefore calls for more research into the different forms of shadow education that exist in many poor developing countries.