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27 April 2022 - 27 April 2022

1:00PM - 2:00PM

Online seminar using Zoom

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Part of the School of Education Research Seminar Series.

Shadow education timescapes

A case of the temporal arrangements of private tutoring vis-à-vis formal schooling in India

Speaker: Dr Achala Gupta is a lecturer in the Southampton Education School at the University of Southampton

Private tutoring is a globally pervasive phenomenon. While scholars have explored the demand for and supply of private tutoring, how tutoring centres organise their services, and the role of temporality in this, remains underexplored. This presentation addresses this knowledge gap by exploring the temporal arrangements of private tutoring vis-à-vis formal schooling. Specifically, drawing on ethnographic data, produced during 2014–15 in Dehradun (India), the presenter will discuss four aspects of a ‘shadow education’ timescape: how tutoring services are mapped onto the formal schooling structure (Mapping); how tutorial centres benefit from having more time to allocate to educational services over formal schools (Advantage); how tutorial centres diversify the nature of academic support they offer throughout an academic year (Diversity); and, how tutoring services accommodate changing schooling practices over time (Adaptability). This discussion will unveil the specific ways in which the temporal facets of private tutoring help tutoring businesses circumvent the schooling system to secure their space alongside – rather than by attempting to replace – the formal institutions of education within the Indian educational landscape. Although this presentation will be empirically grounded in India, the conceptualisation of temporalities of private tutoring it will generate will be valuable to the investigations of organisational framings, structural arrangements and practices of tutoring provisions in other contexts.

This presentation is based on an article, published (open access) in 2022 in the British Journal of Educational Studies. Full article can be accessed here:



Dr Achala Gupta is a lecturer in the Southampton Education School at the University of Southampton. Her research focuses on investigating educational issues sociologically. Achala’s current interests include education delivery systems (formal and supplementary) and schooling practices in Asia, and students’ aspirations and transition into higher education in Europe. She has published research on the heterogeneity of middle-class advantage, teacher-entrepreneurialism, social legitimacy and the organisational arrangements of private tutoring in India, as well as on how students are made sense of by policy, staff, the media and students themselves in Denmark, England, Germany, Ireland, Poland, and Spain.


This will be a virtual seminar using Zoom. Contact for details about how to take part.