Visit to Lithuania
In November 2014, Mark Bray travelled to Vilnius to work with the Mykolas Romeris University. Funding was provided by Lithuania’s Ministry of Education and Science, and included a meeting in the Ministry about policies for shadow education.
The meeting was enhanced by participation by Virginia Būdienė, who was one of the co-editors with Mark Bray of the 2006 book Education in a Hidden Marketplace: Monitoring of Private Tutoring. Other participants included Algirdas Zabulionis, who was a contributor to the book. The meeting noted the value of comparative analysis and the desirability of follow-up research to identify trends.
World Teachers’ Day
Each year, UNESCO celebrates World Teachers’ Day on 5 October. This year was the 20th anniversary of the launch of the events, and UNESCO Headquarters had two-day event. Mark Bray and Ora Kwo were among the participants.
A special feature was the award of the UNESCO-Handan Price for Outstanding Practice and Performance in Enhancing the Effectiveness of Teachers. Ora Kwo had been a member of the Jury for the award, examining shortlisted candidatures during a meeting in January 2014.
The events for the World Teachers’ Day were opened by Soo Hyang Choi, Director of the Division for Teaching Learning and Content, and launched by Tang Qian, Assistant Director-General for Education. Participative workshops in the forum focused on life and working conditions of teachers, teachers’ continuous professional development, pedagogical innovations in education, and how ICT can support teacher training. A video of highlights can be accessed here.
The UN International Day of Peace
Mark Bray, as UNESCO Chair, was invited by the UNESCO Hong Kong Association to celebrate the UN International Day of Peace at the Asia Society’s Hong Kong Centre on 21 September 2014.
The event was an opportunity to pause and reflect, and to consider ways to achieve the vision of a united and sustainable community. It brought together 25 representatives of Hong Kong’s international community, including consulates, religious bodies, national chambers of commerce, and senior government officials. Cultural performances and an international food festival contributed to a remarkable full-day event. Photographs can be seen here.
Collaboration on Shadow Education in Greece and Cyprus
In June 2014, Mark Bray together with Ora Kwo visited Greece and Cyprus, which have the highest participation of shadow education in Europe. At the University of Athens, they delivered a talk on shadow education in its historic premises at the foot of the Acropolis. Following that event was the 6th International Scientific Conference of Educational Planning hosted by the University of the Aegean, Rhodes. Mark Bray’s keynote speech was entitled “Symbiosis which Complements, or Parasitism which Weakens? International Perspectives on Relationships between Shadow Education and Schooling”.
In both Greece and Cyprus, Mark Bray and Ora Kwo visited tutoring centers and discussed issues with the professional associations of tutoring providers.
Colloquia on Researching Shadow Education
CERC hosted a colloquium entitled “Researching Shadow Education: Findings and Methodological Lessons from Diverse Cultures” on 28 to 29 April 2014. It brought together 20 participants: 14 HKU colleagues who are researching on shadow education and six counterparts from institutions in Philippines, Iran, Jamaica, Croatia, Malaysia, and Mainland China. The two-day workshop was an intensive period for co-inquiry about the strengths, weaknesses and potential of a range of methodological approaches for research in shadow education. It will lead to an edited book on the theme.
Following the spirit of the colloquium, one participant organized a related event in her own university in Manila, Philippines. It was entitled “Researching Shadow Education - Implications to Students' Performance”, and held at the University of Santo Tomas on 27 June 2014. Mark Bray gave a keynote speech which elaborated on the messages from the HKU event.
UNESCO-HK Peacemakers’ Celebration
On Saturday 12 April 2014, the UNESCO Hong Kong Association accomplished a remarkable Peacemakers’ Celebration. Held in the Science Park, the event built on the tradition of the previous year. Local schools and supporting organisations participated in activities that emphasised:
Ecological Peace, and
Exhibitions, musical performances, country-focused booths, seminars and drama contributed to a remarkable atmosphere in this full-day event. Some of the photographs can be seen here.
Among the guests of honour was Prof. Tao Xiping, Vice President of the World Federation of UNESCO Clubs, Centres and Associations. On Monday 14 April 2014 he visited the University of Hong Kong for mutual briefing on activities. He was accompanied by senior officers of the UNESCO-HK Association.
Regulating Private Tutoring
A new book on regulations for private tutoring (shadow education) was launched on 31 March 2014 in UNESCO’s Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education, Bangkok. The book, written by Mark Bray and Ora Kwo, is entitled Regulating Private Tutoring for Public Good: Policy Options for Supplementary Education in Asia. The book is co-published by UNESCO and HKU’s Comparative Education Research Centre and can be downloaded here.
The book points out that the so-called shadow education system of private supplementary tutoring has great implications for (in)equitable access to quality education for all. In general, the sector is under-regulated. The book draws on comparative material in Asia and also has much relevance to other parts of the world.
Gwang-Jo Kim, Director of UNESCO Bangkok, highlighted patterns in the Republic of Korea (ROK), with which he is intimately familiar as he served as Deputy Minister of Education there before joining UNESCO. The ROK government has devoted most effort to regulations over the longest period. “Yet even ROK has not yet found all the answers,” remarked Mr Kim. “Governments can see the challenges as well as useful strategies in the South Korean case.”
In South and Southeast Asia, in any case, conditions are rather different from those in South Korea. UNESCO has long recognised the diversity in the region, whether in the contexts or in the experiences. The lessons in this book highlight the value of comparisons across countries in all categories.
Meeting of UNESCO Chairholders in Paris
On 23 and 24 January 2014, UNESCO’s Education Sector convened a meeting of UNESCO Chairholders in the Organization’s Paris Headquarters. It was the first such meeting in recent times, and provided a valuable opportunity:
- for UNESCO to brief the Chairholders on its newly-approved Medium-Term Strategy,
- for UNESCO to learn more about the activities and priorities of the Chairholders, and
- for the Chairholders to learn more about each other, and to plan collaborative projects.
The meeting was opened by Tang Qian, Assistant Director-General for the Education Sector (fourth left in the picture below), and managed by Pauline Gonzalez-Pose, Chief of the Higher Education Section (second right). Other colleagues in the opening ceremony were Francesc Pedro, David Atchoarena and Miao Fengchun from UNESCO HQ and Chairholders Elvira Martín-Sabina (Cuba), Ibrahima Wade (Senegal) and Tim Unwin (United Kingdom).
Subgroups in the meeting focused on higher education, ICT in education, and teachers. The meeting identified channels for collaborative research and improved networking. HKU’s UNESCO Chair can play a role across themes since it focuses on comparative education and can contribute to methodology as well as substantive analysis.