chapter  3
23 Pages

Formal assessment, private tutoring, and Confucian habitus

WithCharlene Tan

This chapter begins by highlighting the striking features of private supplementary tutoring against a backdrop of high-stakes exams in the Confucian Heritage Cultures (CHCs). It identifies and elaborates on a Confucian habitus espoused by parents and other educational stakeholders. A conspicuous feature of formal education in Singapore, Shanghai, and Hong Kong is a system of public exams. Tutoring service in Singapore can be obtained from a tutoring centre or a tuition agency. The Hong Kong private tutoring industry began in the 1970s and has since expanded rapidly. P. Bourdieu's notions of habitus and capital shed further light on the trend of private tutoring and its relationship with the narrow-local interpretation of "performance". Habitus reproduces the social structures through individuals "consciously reinventing or by subconsciously imitating already proven strategies as the accepted, most respectable, or even simplest course to follow".