Private tutoring — also known as “shadow education,” due to its informal nature — is a worldwide phenomenon that has been growing steadily, accounting for close to 3% of Gross Domestic Product in some countries. A recent survey conducted by the Dubai School of Government (DSG) found that more than 65% of Emirati students in Grade 12 attend private tutoring lessons. While there can be benefits to both students and teachers, private tutoring also has serious negative implications, not only for the individuals involved, but also for the education system as a whole.
This brief gives an overview of shadow education, its reach and patterns worldwide. Next, it presents the results of the recent DSG study revealing private tutoring practices among Emiratis. The brief concludes with a discussion of the consequences of private tutoring, and offers policy recommendations to address the issue.