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Visit to Lithuania

3In 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 policies5 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

1Mark 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. 1At 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, or2 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 29Colloquium1 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

Peacemaker celebrationOn 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:

  • Individual Peace,

  • Cultural Peace,

  • Social Peace,

  • Ecological Peace, and

  • Political Peace.

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.

Peacemakers Celeberation2


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 RegionalRegulating PT1 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.

Regulating PT2Gwang-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.



Launch of the 17th Translation

In 2009 UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) published a book written by Mark Bray entitled Confronting the Shadow Education System: What Government Policies for What Private Tutoring?. This book has had a far-reaching impact, as indicated by the number of translations. IIEP itself translated the book into French, and partners have translated it into ArabicArmenianAzeriBanglaChinese,GeorgianHindiKannadaKoreanMongolianNepaliPolishSpanishSinhala, and Urdu.17 Translation



In January 2014, Mark Bray travelled to Tehran for the launch of the Farsi translation. This is the 17th language into which the book has been translated. The translation was managed by Dr Abbas Madandar Arani of Lorestan University in Iran, who is pictured here left with Mark Bray (second left) and the other two translators, Lida Kakia (holding the book) and Tandis Taghavi.

17 Translation bThe launching ceremony also called attention to the Farsi versions of two related books written by Mark Bray and published by IIEP. One is entitled The Shadow Education System: Private Tutoring and its Implications for Planners, and the other is entitled Adverse Effects of Supplementary Tutoring: Dimensions, Implications and Government Responses. They are displayed on the table in the picture below and the accompanying publicity (click here).

Comparative Research on Shadow Education

 Private tutoring is becoming a worldwide phenomenon and has far-reaching implications, as reflected by the research being undertaken by HKU's UNESCO Chair Professor in Comparative Education and his international collaborators.

Click here to watch the video on "Comparative Research on Shadow Education"


Closing Ceremony of UNESCO-IIEP Distance Training Course

The Distance Training Programme on Education Sector Planning organized by UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning celebrated its success on 30 September 2013 with a closing ceremony concurrently took place in each of the three participating countries: Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam

Click here for the Press Release.


UNESCO in the World Congress of Comparative Education Societies

In June 2013, over 1,300 delegates convened in Argentina for the 15th World Congress. The contributions of UNESCO were much in evidence. Mark Bray chaired a panel entitled “Revisiting the Delors Report”, and the Congress concluded with a message of support to UNESCO in its current financial situation.

Click here for more details.


Policy Forum

Regulating the Shadow Education System: Private Tutoring and Government Policies in Asia

A Policy Forum on “Regulating the Shadow Education System: Private Tutoring and Government Policies in Asia” was  held at the University of Hong Kong between the 8th and 9th April 2013. This Policy Forum was organized by the Comparative Education Research Centre at HKU in partnership with the Asian Development Bank and the UNESCO Bangkok regional office.

To learn more about what was discussed and proposed at the Policy Forum, visit the permanent Policy Forum page at the Shadow Education SIG website.


The book on tertiary education in small states co-edited by the UNESCO Chair in Comparative Education wins "best book" award

HKU and UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) are delighted that the book Tertiary education in small states: Planning in the context of globalization has won the first place in the 2013 Best Book Award from the Higher Education Special Interest Group (SIG) of the US-based Comparative & International Education Society (CIES).  The CIES, founded in 1956, is the oldest and largest body of its kind, and the award is a significant honor.

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The book, edited by Michaela Martin and Mark Bray, originated in an IIEP Policy Forum within the framework of UNESCO’s World Conference on Higher Education. Following the Policy Forum, further papers were commissioned and the original papers revised. The authors of the 13 chapters include researchers, administrators and policy makers.

Raymond E. Wanner, Chairperson of the IIEP Governing Board, remarked that the close cooperation with a prestigious university is a “win/win partnership [that] helps IIEP maintain its academic rigor and intellectual credibility and helps the University of Hong Kong to enhance its international outreach;  both go to the very heart of UNESCO's mission.”  

Click here to download the book


14-18 January 2013: IIEP Distance Training Programme on Education Sector Planning in Asia: Indonesia – Thailand – Viet Nam

Opening Ceremony of the Regional Workshop


Professor Stephen Andrews, Dean of Education of HKU (first row left 3); Professor Mark Bray, UNESCO Chair in Comparative Education (first row left 6); Ms Jean K. Sung, Executive Director & Manager, Global Philanthropy Asia-Pacific of J.P.Morgan (first row right 6); Ms Gabriele Gottelmann of IIEP (first row right 5); our honorable guests and 73 education professionals from Indonesia, Thailand and Viet Nam.

From June 2012 to May 2013, UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP- UNESCO), with the sponsorship of JPMorgan Chase Foundation, will offer the third edition of its Distance Training Programme on Education Sector Planning (ESP) in three Asian countries (Indonesia, Thailand, and Viet Nam).  The previous sessions of the programme were successfully implemented in African countries between 2008 and 2010.

Implemented in collaboration with The University of Hong Kong (HKU), this training programme aims at reinforcing institutional capacity in educational planning at national and regional levels, by training a pool of 60–70 education professionals.  The programme provides participants with practice-oriented training and follows a blended approach which combines distance training and face-to-face sessions, the latter organized in partnership with renowned training institutions in each of the participating countries.

Being the programme organizers with IIEP and J.P. Morgan, the Faculty of Education of HKU proudly presented an Opening Ceremony of the Regional Workshop of IIEP Distance Training Programme on Education Sector Planning Asia on 14 January 2013. 

An Opening Session with speeches was delivered by Ms Gabriele Gottelmann of IIEP, Professor Stephen Andrews, Dean of Education of HKU, Professor Mark Bray, UNESCO Chair in Comparative Education as well as Ms Jean K. Sung, Executive Director & Manager, Global Philanthropy Asia-Pacific of J.P. Morgan. 


8 December 2012:Peacemakers' Celebration

HKU is always delighted to partner with the UNESCO Hong Kong Association. On Saturday 8 December 2012 this took the form of participation in launching the Peacemakers’ Celebration.  The ceremony was held at the Hong Kong Institute of Education, with involvement of students and teachers from 17 local schools.

Following the launch, schools and partners will work on projects to learn about other cultures and nationalities. The work will lead to an exhibition and set of performances on 24 February 2013 (which is also Chinese Valentine’s Day) in the Hong Kong Science Park.


26 to 28 November 2012: Rethinking learning in a changing world

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From 26 to 28 November 2012, the UNESCO regional office in Bangkok hosted a High-Level Expert Meeting entitled “What Education for the Future? Beyond 2015 – Rethinking Learning in a Changing World”.

Mr G.J. Kim, Director of the office in Bangkok, welcomed participants including Mr Tang Qian (pictured), Assistant Director-General for Education at UNESCO Headquarters. He stressed the importance of focusing on what children actually learn in classrooms once they have been enrolled.

Delegates from the University of Hong Kong included Mark Bray and Nancy Law.  Their contributions focused on both the system level and the technologies for learning. Among additional themes highlighted, particularly by Kerry Kennedy of the Hong Kong Institute of Education, was work on The Chinese Learner undertaken by HKU colleagues and published by the Comparative Education Research Centre.

The event was a follow-up to a meeting in May 2012 which had considered the nature of the agenda following the target date for the Education for All (EFA) goals in 2015. That meeting had been attended by Mark Bray, Cheng Kai-Ming and Anatoly Oleksiyenko

Click here for the press announcement of the event.

And click here for the agenda papers.


20 October 2012: Launch of the 2012 ESD Learning Programme in Hong Kong

The UNESCO Chair at HKU is glad to work closely with the UNESCO HK Association in its many activities. This includes their outreach programme to local schools. Tamara Savelyeva represented HKU at the launch.

On 20 October 2012, the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Learning Programme gave a start to its third year participants. Offered since 2009 by the UNESCO HK Association, it gathered around 260 students from the award-winning schools.

I attended this event as a guest and had a chance to observe the dynamics of the gathering as well as some of backstage organizational moments. 

What really impressed me was the synergy of everyone’s involvement.  Students, teachers, program alumni and volunteers combined their knowledge, insights, and ideas to turn an official kick-off function to an energetic and energizing interaction of sustainability-minded persons.

Every voice and every word was heard during this two hour activity. All students talked in small groups and then shared their aspirations about sustainability via open microphone.

For me, it was an amazing and rare opportunity to hear passionate ideas about sustainability in one diverse scope of a two hour event. All of the participants, from senior UNESCO HK vice-presidents to younger students added their voices to a discussion about how each of them will make sustainability happen in HK really happen.

For the first time, I saw primary school students engaged into a big-scale ESD activity together with everybody else. “This is not a wild experiment”, said Ada Cheung, Principals of St. Bonaventure School who is piloting a Life Learning sustainability project. “This is the way we will engage students into sustainability learning—through Life Learning. We aim for upbringing a sense of empathy and kindliness to the world and others in our students.” The simple goal, which was reflected in a short, 5-stage curriculum, showed an advancement of the ESD programs in HK comparing with those in other parts of the world. The means of ESD education rarely go over a set of nature-bound environmental education activity or a recycling program.

Read more on:



27 September 2012: Launch of Nepali version of shadow education book

The UNESCO office in Kathmandu joined hands with the UNESCO National Commission for Nepal to launch the Nepali translation of a book written by Mark Bray, UNESCO Chair in Comparative Education.

The book was originally published in English by UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning, and is entitled Confronting the Shadow Education System: What Government Policies for What Private Tutoring?. Nepali is the 12th language in which the book has been published.

To read the other versions in which the book has been published, click here.

To read the report in the Nepali magazine for schools (distributed to every school in the country), click here.

Mark Bray and Suresh Man Shreshta, Secretary of the Ministry of Education in Nepal

Mark Bray and Suresh Man Shreshta, Secretary of the Ministry of Education in Nepal


9 July 2012: Presented a keynote address entitled "Challenges and Opportunities in Quality Education for Sustainability" in the Conference of the Comparative Education Society of Asia (CESA) 2012 in the Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand.

Group photo

Group photo


5 July 2012: Professor Mark Bray has won a grant from the Prestigious Fellowship Scheme under the Humanities and Social Sciences Panel (HSSPFS) of Hong Kong's Research Grants Council (RGC).

The grant is for HK$600,000 (US$77,120), and focuses on "Social Inequalities amidst the Global Agenda of Education for All (EFA): Local Regional and Global Implications of Private Supplementary Tutoring".


26 June 2012: Meeting with the UNESCO Chair of Political Economy and Education: Professor John W. Morgan

Prof John W. Morgan and Prof Mark Bray


24 February 2012: Made a presentation on private tutoring in the UNESCO Bangkok Office.

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