Journal of East China Normal University(Educational Sciences) ›› 2020, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (5): 63-77.doi: 10.16382/j.cnki.1000-5560.2020.05.003

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Learning Beyond School Walls in Times of Inequality

Yang Po   

  1. Graduate School of Education, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
  • Published:2020-05-15

Abstract: Against the background of the parallel development of economic inequality, equalization of compulsory education, and growth of online technology, private tutoring enters a new era, characterized by extensive and intensive household participation. It has gradually transformed into a new form of out-of-school learning, provided by the government and the market. Such learning activities are governed by micro-, meso-, and macro-level factors. There are three new trends in this field. First, the equalization policy for basic education and the stratification strategy for tertiary education have jointly pushed the basic education competition out of the school wall. Second, income inequality forces parents to increase their time and financial inputs, and thus the intensive parenting spreads out globally. Third, internet technology removes household’s barriers to participate in after-school learning, and increase their choice. The interactions among the policy, the culture, and the technology facilitate the institutionalization of learning beyond school walls. One significant consequence of such transformation is that the low-level equilibrium, characterized by high within school competition, low outside-school competition, and low-level private tutoring, is replaced by a new high-level equilibrium, characterized by low within school competition, high outside-school competition, and high-level private tutoring. In the post-tutoring era, learning beyond school walls is turning into a major instrument for social mobility and stratification. As such, the government needs to adjust its understanding and take the responsibility of closing the class divide in out-of-school learning opportunities.

Key words: out-of-school learning, institutionalization, income inequality