Every year families across the EU spend billions to supplement their children’s schooling with private tutoring seeking to ensure that their children perform adequately in exams and for work that should normally be mastered at mainstream school. This study focuses on fee-paying tutoring in academic subjects such as mathematics, languages and sciences. It does not cover supplementary learning of sports, music, etc., except and unless they are considered part of the core curriculum of schooling. Such supplementary tutoring is widely called shadow education. The metaphor is used because such tutoring mimics the mainstream school system. If a new curriculum or assessment mode is introduced in the mainstream, in due course it appears in the shadow. And as the mainstream expands, so does the shadow.
Bray, M. (2011). ‘The Challenge of Shadow Education: Private Tutoring and its Implications for Policy Makers in the European Union’, NESSE Report.