Shadow Teaching and Actual Disparity

A Study from the Perspectives of Grade 9 Students in Multan, Pakistan

  • Muhammad Abid Malik Virtual University of Pakistan
  • Muhammad Anwer University of Education, Lahore
  • Baocun Liu Beijing Normal University
Keywords: shadow education, shadow teaching, actual disparity, private tutoring


Shadow education stands for those for-profit activities which are to improve students’ academic learning in school-taught subjects.  Shadow teaching is a subcategory of shadow education which stands for paid private supplementary tutoring.  It is assumed that such activities cause disparities as those students who do not receive them, might be at disadvantage.  This paper investigates disparities caused by shadow teaching through the lenses of actual disparity.  Actual disparity occurs when one stays away from an advantage or facility due to unfavorable circumstances, and feels deprived for not having it.  Data was collected from grade 9 students belonging to eight schools in Multan, Pakistan.  394 questionnaires were analyzed.  Additionally, 5 one-to-one, and 6 focused-group interviews were conducted from 35 of those students who had not received shadow teaching.  The findings show that out of 394, 117 students did not receive shadow teaching.  Out of those 117, only 40 cited unfavorable circumstances.  Others claimed to have stayed away by their own accord.  During interviews, most of them said that they did not have any sense of deprivation for not receiving it.  Many pointed out various strategies which they had been using instead of shadow teaching.  They claimed that those strategies were more beneficial in their learning than shadow teaching.