Education System In Different Countries Of The World Education Essay

2.1 Introduction

There is a very strong paradigm in the mind of people that to be educated means a good job with a high salary and a high standard of living. In the following sections the researcher is going to present the meaning, purposes and benefits of education. Then, the education system in different countries will be seen including that in Mauritius, where the research has been carried out. The last and main part will be on private tuition which is the area of analysis of the researcher where the meaning, precedence, reasons for taking private tuition, implications mainly on the link between private tuition and academic performance, and the policy that government in different countries is adopting on private tuition.

2.2 Meaning of Education

Education involves the acquisition of knowledge and the learning of skills. The word education has two etymological sources, namely "educare" and "educere" (Wronka, 2007). These two latin origins are sometimes used interchangeably (Teeroovengadum et al., 2010)), while some authors do make a difference between them. "Educare" means "to mould" or "to train" (Teeroovengadum et al., 2010), while "educere" means "leading out" or "leading forth" or "to bring out and bring forth what is within" (Rosado, 2010). As a result, as Teeroovengadum et al. (2010) observed, education in its truest sense refers to the latin word "educere" which means "to lead, draw, educe and bring forth what is latent in an individual. However, the other dimension of education which is "educare", isalso considered important and useful since it allows the training of an individual where he/she acquires the necessary knowledge and skills for doing a particular job, thus ensuring material progress at personal and societal level.

Education is worldwide recognised to benefit individuals and promote national development. Educating females and males produces equal increases in their subsequent earnings and expands future opportunities and choices for both boys and girls (USAID, 2008).

Research has shown that education is "one of the most effective development investments countries and their donor partners can make" (Basic Education Coalition 2004). "Adequate investments in education facilitate the achievement of most other development goals and increase the probability that progress will be sustained" (USAID 2008). Each year of schooling "increases individual output by 4-7 percent, and countries that improve literacy rates by 20-30 percent have seen increases in gross domestic product (GDP) of 8-16 percent" (Basic Education Coalition 2004). Education builds the human capital that is needed for economic growth (USAID 2008). It also produces significant improvements in health, nutrition, and life expectancy, and countries with an educated citizenry are more likely to be democratic and politically stable.

Discussion regarding education’s aims, especially its ultimate aims, is a primary and challenging topic in the philosophy of education. According to Johnston (2004), education contributes to individual and social benefits, such as higher wages, greater life satisfaction, healthier individuals, higher national income, healthier population and a better functioning society.

2.3 Education system in different countries of the world

According to the Jomtien conference on "Education for All" held in Thailand (1990), primary and secondary education is free and compulsory in many countries around the world. In most countries, education is compulsory up to the age of 16. The researcher will take the education system of some countries before coming to that in Mauritius.

The Education system in Finland which is considered as the world number one is different to that in many other countries. Compulsory education starts at 7 years old, with a maximum of one year of pre-school education. There is a national core curriculum, but timetabling and delivery are left up to schools and teachers. There is no selection in terms of formal testing or national examinations at any stage prior to higher education until matriculation (end of secondary education) which is required for entry to post 19 education.

The Education system in USA is also based on free and compulsory primary and secondary education, however, the ages by which children are compelled to begin and allowed to finish education varies from state to state. Typically, education is compulsory from first grade (usually age 6) to tenth grade (age 16). At the end of secondary school, most students sit for SAT examinations in order to pursue tertiary education.

The Education system in India is based on 10 years of primary education, from the age of 6-14, consisting of 5 years of primary education and 3 years of upper primary, followed by 2 years of high school. This is followed by 2 years of higher secondary education and finally 3 years of college education for bachelor’s degree.

The Education system in Australia is based on compulsory primary and secondary education from age 6-19. Prior to primary education, there is pre-primary education which is non-compulsory. After secondary education, there is tertiary education at Universities or technical schools.

The Education system in Hong Kong consists of a voluntary three years kindergarten, compulsory 6 years of primary and 3 years of secondary education, selective 3 years of senior secondary based on performance. Finally tertiary education is offered at Universities.

The Education system in Singapore which is considered among the best in the world consists of preschool (3-6), compulsory primary education (6-12), secondary education (12-17) and tertiary education. It is worth noting that at the end of primary schooling, children have to take the Primary School Leaving Examination which is highly competitive and decides the secondary school allocated to a child.

2.4 Private tuition

2.4.1 Definition of private tuition

Private tuition also known as private supplementary tutoring (Bray, 2003) can be defined as ‘giving tuition in an academic subject which is taught at school, such as Chemistry, Mathematics, or Economics by Educators (teachers) who are paid for the service, in addition to mainstream schooling’.

According to Tansel and Bircan (2004), private tutoring is defined as education besides mainstream schooling where the teacher teaches specific subjects for a tuition fee in return.

Foondun (2002) defined private tuition as an additional coaching given to students after school hours in academic subjects which are examinable against money.

2.4.2 Intensity of private tuitions in different countries

Private tuition is a phenomenon that has gained importance in both developed and developing countries around the world, such as in Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Jamaica, South Korea, Japan, Kenya, Sudan, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Malaysia and Mauritius among many others (Nath, 2008).

In Malysia, private tuition is known as a "shadow education system" whereas in Japan, it is known as "juku" (Marimuthu et al, 1991).Private tuition exists at primary and secondary levels mainly and it can be offered to students on an individual basis, though it is very uncommon nowadays, and to a group of students which can vary from five up to sixty. In some countries, teachers working with a group of students in school, give the latter private tuition after school hours or during the week-end. This is mainly practised by teachers of the primary level (Bray, 2003).

In 2003, a research revealed that 83% of elementary, 75% of middle school and 56% of high school students in Korea had undergone various kinds of private tutoring (Nath, 2008). Household spending on private tutoring has grown at a remarkable pace there; 1.2% of GDP in 1990 to 1.8% in 1994 to 2.9% in 1998 (Nath, 2008).

A survey which was conducted in Egypt in 1997 showed that household expenditures on private tuition in pre-primary, primary and secondary levels accounted for 1.6% of the GDP (World Bank, 2002).

Another research conducted in Hong Kong in 1998/1999 concluded that 35.1% of secondary grade 1-3, 46.6% of grade 4-5 and 70.3% of grade 6-7 took private tuitions (Bray and Kwok, 2003).

Initial research on private tuition showed that it is dominant in Asian societies due to the fact that the phenomenon has been largely spread there for a long period of time (Sawada and Kobayashi 1986; De Silva 1994; Harnisch 1994; Tseng 1998; Kim 2004; Kwan- Terry 1991; Kwok 2001; Yi 2002). However, later studies showed that private tutoring has been expanding in other countries, including Africa (Sambo 2001; Paviot, Heinsohn, and Korkman, 2008), North America (Burch 2009; Davies 2004; Gordon, Bridglall, and Meroe 2005), and Western Europe (Mischo and Haag 2002; Glasman 2004; Ireson 2004).

A research done by Silova (2010) suggested that private tutoring had grown enormously in both industrialized and less-developed societies. In countries as diverse as Egypt, India, Malta, and Romania, over one-third of students were often taking private tuition; and in some societies this proportion is significantly bigger (Bray 2003, 2006).

A study conducted in Republic of Korea in 1997 showed that 72.9% of primary students, 56% of middle school students and 32% of high school students were taking private tuitions (Bray, 2003).

A research conducted in India in 1997 showed that 70% of students living in the urban areas were taking private tuition in at least one subject and a survey which was done with 7879 primary school students showed that 32.9% of them were taking private tuitions (Bray, 2003).

Another survey revealed that private supplementary tutoring is more common in countries such as Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Tajikistan and Mongolia (Silova, 2010).

A reasearch undertaken by Nath (2008) in Bangladesh showed that the amount of primary school students receiving private tuition was 21.4% in 1998 and 21% in 2000, which elevated to 31% after five years in 2005.

2.4.3 Impacts of private tuitions

There are three main reasons for students having to take private tuitions, namely, cultural, educational and economic (Bray & Silova, 2006). Cultural factors, mainly in Asian countries, stress the importance of effort needed by students in order to succeed academically (Bray, 2007). As a result, parents see private tuition as a means for their child to work harder and hence obtain good academic results in examinations. Educational factor also affects greatly the need for private tuitions. In many countries, such as Mauritius, Japan and Hong Kong, there is intense competition among students for getting access from primary to secondary and from the latter to tertiary education (Bray & Silova, 2006). There is a lot of pressure on students in order to obtain the best school or university, resulting in the quest for private tuitions and sometimes students take more than one private tuition per subject.The third factor which is the economic factor, deals with the economic return that the students will obtain when they get educated and obtain a job. It is perceived that private tuitions can keep students for a longer time in the education system, thus giving them better opportunity for a higher standard of living and a better job (Dang & Rogers, 2008). A research conducted in Singapore in 1991; showed that in the mid 80s’, the average income of males with no schooling were $583 per month, $ 665 for those with primary education, $ 881 for those with secondary education and $ 3000 for those with tertiary education (Bray, 2003). Another phenomenon observed is that private tuition is more common in urban than in rural regions (Bray, 2003). Students in urban schools took a lot more private supplementary tutoring than those from rural ones; however, the gap between them has reduced over time, from 26.2 percentage points in 1998 to 23.5 percentage points in 2000 and 2005 (Nath, 2008). In 2005, 28.2% of the rural students and 51.7% of the urban students had private supplementary tutors (Nath, 2008). Chew and Leong (1995) made the following observation on students who take private tuition from urban and rural areas, students from urban regions take more private tuitions than those from rural areas for three main reasons, namely, first, there is a bigger level of competition among the students since the best schools are situated in those regions. Second, parents who live in urban regions are better qualified academically than those from rural regions and hence the expectations that their child will perform better are extremely high. Third, people living in urban areas have higher socio-economic status than those from rural areas and therefore they can spend a lot more on private tuitions for their children.

From the teachers’ point of view, there are three main reasons for them to give private tutions, namely, desire to earn more money, teacher dedication and teacher reputation (Foondun, 1992). In many countries, such as Mauritius, we have a capitalist and consumer society, that is, the more one earns money, the more he/she wants more (Foondun, 1992). As a result, teachers who consider that they are underpaid for the hard work that they provide at school do give private tuitions as a means of a second pay in order to meet their ever increasing demands. The second reason is about teacher dedication which means that many teachers work hard for the success of their students and sometimes they prepare additional work for their students to be done during the private tuitions or due to lack of time during school hours, they continue the work during private tuitions (Foondun, 1992). The third reason is about the reputation of the teacher which depends a lot on the academic achievement of his/her pupils during examinations. If the pupils succeed with flying colors during the examinations, the teacher is considered as a good teacher, or else, if the pupils fail, the teacher is taken for a poor one (Foondun, 1992). The teacher with a good reputation can give a lot of private tuition since he/she will be considered as a "magician leading to success" for the pupils.

2.4.4 Implications of private tuitions

According to Bray (2003), private tutoring could have impact on academic achievement, mainstream schooling, social relationships, and economic development. Stevenson and Baker (1992) found that some forms of ‘‘shadow education’’ increase the probability of entering Japanese universities but that other types (such as private tutors) resulted no such advantage (Smyth, 2008). A study conducted by Kang (2006) showed a major improvement in marks as a result of South Korean students taking private tuitions, where the following variables were controlled; the teaching skills of the teachers, the amount of time the students were dedicating to self learning, and the background of the family (Smyth, 2008). A research conducted by Sawada and Koyawashi (1986) on the effect of private tutoring on the academic achievement of pupils in mathematics showed that due to bigger chance to learn more in private tuitions, students did obtain higher marks ( Bray, 2003). However, another study conducted by Fergany et al. (1994) in Egypt showed that there was no relationship between students taking private tuitions and their academic achievement (Bray, 2003). Some studies give evidence that pupils, who take private tuitions, tend to receive better grades (Elbaum et al., 2000; Mischo and Haag, 2002; Tansel and Bircan, 2005); other studies show no statistically big link between private supplementary tutoring and academic grades obtained (Han et al., 2001); while others say that private tuitions may have a negative effect on the grades obtained by pupils (Ban et al., 2005). According to Bray (2003), there are different factors affecting the effect of private tuitions on academic achievement, namely, the content and mode of tutoring, the motivation of the tutors and students, the intensity, duration and timing of tutoring and the types of students who received tutoring. As mentioned by Hon (2010; pg 3), students who obtain good grade in academic and examinable subjects have a high tendency to take private tuitions in order to further improve their academic results. In 1998, a test quantifying basic education was carried out for children of 11-12 years old at the level of primary education in Bangladesh and the results showed that pupils who were taking private tuitions performed better than those who did not, together with the fact that the more private tuitions students had access to, the better the grade obtained (Nath, 2008). Nath (2008) further made the observation about one parent saying that private tuition is vital for his/her child to master a lesson which he/she had not understood in class at school. This would help the child to obtain better grade in the examinations. A research conducted by Safarzynska (2011) in Poland showed that students who were taking private tuitions in Mathematics and in Polish obtained higher grades than those who did not in the PISA tests 2006.

Private tuitions have impact on mainstream schooling also in the sense that they can either help students have a better mastery of the mainstream lessons taught in class or on the other hand, they can also show a lack of interest in mainsteam lessons (Bray, 2003). A study carried out by De Silva (1994) has shown that private tuitions have really helped students understand concepts that they did not understand at school due to ineffective teaching and lack of care from the part of the teacher, and thus be more confident to challenge those who were above average students (Bray, 2003). However, on the other side of the coin lies the negative impact of private tuitions on mainstream schooling. A study conducted by Husein (1987) in Kuwait revealed that students believed in a paradigm that only private tuitions could make them be successful in their examinations resulting in a complete lack of interest for the mainstream lessons taught at school (Bray, 2003).

On the social perspective, due to private tuitions pupils do not have enough free time to spend with their parents leading to poor communication and hence all sort of social problems, such as cigarette smoking, alcohol intake, etc (De Silva, 1994). However, private tuitions also allow students to build new relationships with other friends of their age (Russell, 1997). Paiva et al. (1997) found that in Brazil many parents prefer to send their child to private tuition after school in order to prevent him/her roaming through the streets which can prove to be dangerous.

On the economic perspective, parents invest a lot on private tuitions due to the fact that they have an aim for their child to obtain the best possible job with an excellent and high salary in the future (Bray, 2003). On the other hand, private tuition is seen as a barrier to creativity of the children causing a waste in both financial and human resources, which could have a negative impact on the root of the economic production (Bray, 2003).

2.5 Policy responses to private tutoring

Government of different countries has adopted one of the following approaches in response to the phenomenon of private tuitions, namely, a laissez-faire approach, monitoring but no intervention approach, regulation and control approach, encouragement approach, mixed approach, and a prohibition approach.

In many countries, the government has completely ignored the phenomenon of private tuitions mainly due to other more important issues to be dealt with, or simply because the matter of private tuitions is a too complex issue involving cultural, social, political and economic factors (Bray, 2003). Few governments adopt a monitoring, but no intervention stand, that is, they collect information on the teachers who give private tuitions in order to know how much money should be collected from these persons for taxes (Bray, 2003). A more caring approach to the phenomenon of private tutoring is the regulation and control mode where governments have passed the law concerning private tuitions and it appears in the Education Act of the country. An example is in Hong Kong where teachers who give private tuitions to more than eight students per group should be duly registered to the Education Department (Bray, 2003). Another approach is the encouragement one where governments encourage teachers to give private tuitions since it is considered as a means of promoting the development of human resources and ultimately the whole citizens of the country would benefit (Bray, 2003). The last approach is probably the most drastic one which is the prohibition approach which means that all sorts of private tuitions are completely banned as enforced by law and any person who is found to breach the law by giving private tuitions should commit an offence punished by the law (Bray, 2003).

While many countries provide legal parameters of private tutoring and pave ways for the legalisation of private tuitions, Lithuania emerges as an example of the most detailed legal framework ruling the business of private tuition. The Law on Education of the Republic of Lithuania (2003) defines a private tutor also known as a ‘freelance teacher’ in Lithuanian legislation, explains fully how to become a registered member and also sets out obligations for private tutors, including observing the norms of teacher ethics, learners’ safety, ensuring a physical workplace for tutoring that meets health (hygiene) requirements, and implementing the teaching process agreed upon with the students (Silova, 2010). Furthermore, the Lithuanian Law forbids teachers from tutoring their own students in mainstream schools. Such detailed regulations are glaringly missing from the existing legislative frameworks in other countries, leaving the private tutoring markets largely unregulated across the region (Silova, 2010).

In Mauritius, during an interview given in L’Express newspaper (11.11.2011), Minister of Education & Human Resources, the Honorable Vasant Bunwaree talked about the success of the "enhancement programme" which replaced private tuition in standard IV where he mentioned that teachers in "star schools" only do not have the necessary motivation to implement the program since they are too keen to give private tuition. He questioned the role of private tuition at all levels from primary to secondary and said how did it help in the overall development of the child since he conducted a research on what happened to the 600 laureates during the last 25 years and the conclusion was that three among them committed suicide due to lack of ability to fight problems in life. However, to the question of completely banning private tuitions as in the case of primary school where private tuition is not legal from standard I to standard IV, the Minister said that he was unable to do so due to "pressure from different stakeholders"

2.6 Education system in Mauritius and relation to private tuitions.

The Education system is a 6+5+2 one consisting of 6 years of primary education, 5 years of secondary education leading to School Certificate and a further 2 years leading to Higher School Certificate. The education system is heavily dependent on examinations resulting in promotion of students. There are major examinations at three key transition points of the education system in Mauritius, namely, C.P.E, S.C, and H.S.C. The first major and most stressing examination starts at the end of primary schooling with the extremely competitive C.P.E examinations which decide the secondary schools in which the students will be admitted to pursue their higher education. The second major examination is the S.C at the end of Form V which up to now is a basic requirement in order to obtain a job in the public sector. The third and probably the most important examination is the H.S.C examinations at the end of Form VI which decides the tertiary education of the students.

Once in the history of Mauritius, where education was a leisure for some people or something unattainable for others due to lack of money to have access to, with time, the evolution of education which is dynamic has become a must for all citizens of the country. All governments since post independence have been investing a lot of money on education and hence helped in its democratization. However, the Mauritian education system which is based on the British system is highly competitive as mentioned above. This is where private tuitions enter into the system mainly at the three key transition points as stated above. A research conducted by Foondun (2002) in Mauritius, showed that there is a mad race towards obtaining a star school by pupils at C.P.E level, a strong desire to obtain an aggregate of six at S.C level, and a powerful aim of getting a scholarship at H.S.C level. In order to attain these objectives, parents and students run towards private supplementary tutoring. Most of the time at C.P.E level, the pupil is taking private tuition with his/her mainstream teacher, and has the option to take more with teachers from outside. Pupils at S.C and H.S.C levels in secondary schools, most of the time, take private tuitions with teachers who do not work with them at school. Some pupils may take one or more than one private tuition per subject depending on their financial situation.

The aims of the research are to find out the impacts of private tuitions at S.C level from students’ point of view, to examine to what extent private tuitions are replacing mainstream schooling at S.C level from students’ point of view, to analyze the impact of private tuitions in terms of their intensity on the academic achievement of the students at S.C level from students’ point of view, and also to find out whether there is a linear relationship between academic performance at S.C level and SES of student, highest educational attainment of parents, region where the student lives and intensity of private tuitions at S.C level, from students’ point of view.

2.7 Conclusion

It has been shown that education does not only mean getting academic success and education system in various countries is highly linked with examinations at different levels and as a result of the intense pressure to move forward, students have to opt for private tuitions. The definition, characteristics, scale, reasons for taking private tuition, impact, mainly the relation between private tuition and academic performance, the policy responses of different government concerning private tuition have been deeply scrutinized. Finally, the Mauritian education system has been depicted, the incidence of private tuitions at the three key transition points and the aims of the research concerning private tuitions at S.C level have been stated.


3.1 Introduction

Hussey & Hussey (1997) say that methodology makes reference to the whole approach considered, as well as to the theoretical basis from which the researcher comes, and that method is the various ways by which data is collected and analysed.

In this chapter, the reseacher has presented a brief review of the different research philosophies; positivism, interpretivism, and realism (Fisher, 2007), the philosophy that has adopted for the current research, the different research approaches; qualitative, quantitative and mixed-method and the approach adopted for the research. The other parts consist of the different types of research design; exploratory, descriptive, explanatory, and the research design adopted, the qualitative and quantitative phases consisting of sampling, data collection and data analysis, questionnaire design, validity and reliability, data analysis. The last part consists of the ethical issues and a conclusion.

3.2 Research philosophy

As mentioned in the introduction, there are three main types of research philosophies, namely, positivism, interpretivism, and pragmatism (realism).

3.2.1 Positivism

The term ‘positivism’ was found by Comte in the nineteenth century and he related it to the force of science and of systematic thinking to understand and control the world (Fisher, 2007). The aim of positivism is to produce general rules to forecast behavior with a minimum margin of uncertainty. However, there are problems with this philosophy, one of which is that it can only predict average behavior of individuals in a group and not the behavior of each individual (Fisher, 2007). Nonetheless, research based on a positivist philosophy tends to be based on deductive theorising, where a number of propositions are generated for testing, with empirical verification then sought (Babbie, 2005). Considerable data are often required as a positivist study would favour the use of quantitative methods to analyse large-scale phenomena (Travers, 2001).

3.2.2 Interpretivism

This philosophy is on the other extreme of that of positivism. Researchers who adopt this philosophy consider reality as socially constructed, that is, their meaning of reality is affected by their values and their way to see the world; other people’s meaning; the compromises and agreements that come out of the negotiations between the first two (Fisher, 2007). Interpretivism is more associated with the use of qualitative methods to analyse small-scale events (Easterby-Smith, 2006).


Realist research is an approach that resembles to a large extent that of positivism but takes into consideration, and comes to terms with, the subjective nature of research and the paramount function of values in it (Fisher, 2007).

3.2.4 Research philosophy adopted

The correct choice and understanding of philosophical orientation is of extreme importance to allow the selection of the most convenient methodology to facilitate the gathering of the relevant data (Remenyi et al, 1998; Blaxter et al, 2004), especially as poor understanding of philosophical issues can seriously lower the quality of the research (Easterby-Smith, 2006).

Having studied the different philosophical approaches and considered the nature of the current research, the researcher has decided an overall view of a student’s attitude and perception was necessary so as to get a better understanding of students’ views. This type of research required the participation of a large population sample, which in turn created large amounts of numerical and statistical data and information, which needed to be quantifiably analysed. When all these factors were taken into account, realism was the most appropriate philosophical approach to answer the research questions and meet the objectives of the current research.

3.3 Research approach

3.3.1 Quantitative approach

Quantitative methods are most often associated with the positivist epistemology, and they consist of counting and measurement of events and statistical analysis of a body of numerical data (Mc Laren, 2012). An important feature of the quantitative method is the collection of numerical data (Jack & Clarke, 1998) which can ultimately be subjected to statistical procedures (Carter 2000a).

3.3.2 Qualitative approach

Qualitative research consists of the study of events in their natural settings, with a view to making sense of, or interpreting, events of how people interpret (Mc Laren, 2012). Normally, in the empirical type of approach the responsibility is on researchers to direct and control methods to attain objectivity, thus making sure that their findings are valid as their intentions and emotions would not be seen as a barrier with data collection and analysis (Mc Laren, 2012).

3.3.3 Mixed method approach

Mixed methods embrace a method and philosophy that combines the insights provided by qualitative and quantitative methods into a workable solution. Mixed methods research makes full use of the positive parts of both qualitative and quantitative methodologies by combining approaches in a single research study to enhance the scope of understanding (Johnson, Onwuegbuzie, and Turner 2007).

3.3.4 Research approach adopted

As mentioned by Bryman (2007), a combination of qualitative and quantitative results would lead to a better understanding of the data and help in a better way to answer to the research objectives. As the education sector research field keeps on changing, so too does its methods and therefore the researcher has used the mixed method approach for the current research.

3.4 Research design

There are three main types of research design, namely, exploratory, descriptive and causal.

3.4.1 Exploratory design

This design places a lot of emphasis on gaining ideas and insights. An exploratory study intends to explore "what is happening; to seek new insights; to ask questions and to assess the phenomena in a new light" (Robson, 2002, p59). It is important mainly when very little is known about the event. In a type of mixed-method design, the qualitative data are gathered first and a quantitative phase follows. The purpose of this kind of study is typically to use the initial, qualitative phase with a few individuals to identify themes, ideas, perspectives, and beliefs that can then be used to design the larger-scale, quantitative part of the study. Often, this kind of design is used to develop a survey. By using a qualitative component in the beginning, researchers are able to use the language and emphasis on different topics of the subjects in the wording of items for the survey. Doing so increases the validity of the scores that result because they will be well matched with how the subjects, rather than the researchers, think about, conceptualize, and respond to the phenomenon being studied.

3.4.2 Explanatory design

Explanatory study looks at the "causal relationships" between variables (Saunders et al., 2007). In an explanatory design, which may be the most common type, quantitative data are collected first and, depending on the results, qualitative data are gathered second to elucidate, elaborate on, or explain the quantitative findings. Typically, the main thrust of the study is quantitative, and the qualitative results are secondary. For example, this kind of design could be used to study classroom assessment and grading. A large sample of teachers could be surveyed to determine the extent to which they use different factors in classroom assessment and grading; this would provide a general overview of the teachers’ practices. In a second phase, teachers could be selected who represent extremely high or low scores on the factors in the survey. These teachers could then be interviewed using a qualitative method to determine why they used certain practices. Thus, the qualitative phase would be used to augment the statistical data and thus explain the practices.

3.4.3 Descriptive design

Descriptive study aims at giving a clear picture about an event that already exists (Hedrick et al., 1993). Research using a descriptive design simply provides a summary of an existing phenomenon by using numbers to characterize individuals or a group where it assesses the nature of existing conditions (McMillan & Schumacher, 1997). The purpose of most descriptive research is limited to characterizing something as it is.

3.4.4 Research design adopted

Since a mixed method approach has been used for this research, a mixture of both exploratory and explanatory designs was used.

3.5 Qualitative phase

Data to answer some questions was collected by using a qualitative approach. This allowed the researcher to get the opinion of Lower VI students about what they thought of private tuitions at S.C level (Appendix 2).

3.5.1 Sampling

For this part of the study, a reasonable and useful sample of four schools was chosen as mentioned by Mcmillan and Schumacher (1997) who made the argument that a good sample was one where the participants were readily accessible. The four schools were chosen with one in each educational zone, where 10 students were selected to ensure adequate information in a similar way as a research conducted by Mcmillan and Schumacher (1997) during a qualitative study in the educational sector in U.S.A. Due to the fact that the researcher has used focus groups to collect data, 10 students were a reasonable sample per school.

3.5.2 Data collection

Focus groups

For the qualitative part of the study, data was collected from Lower VI students of the four selected schools by focus group interviews (Appendix 3). The focus groups for the students had been chosen since they took less time and more information was collected from different participants at the same time (Daymon &Holloway, 2002). Another advantage of focus groups was that the information obtained from the participants was of good quality since the individuals in the group got ideas from others (McMillan &Schumacher, 1997). The interview of each focus group was at least one hour and thirty minutes. A tape recorder was used to collect data which was later transcribed.

3.5.3 Data analysis

The data which had been recorded in a tape was transcribed and analysed.

3.6 Quantitative phase

The information collected from the qualitative interviews in Phase 1 was used in the development of a comprehensive and valid questionnaire for quantifying the views of students on private tuitions, which was administered to a group of 20 pupils at random on a pilot basis in order to see if there were any difficulties in understanding the questions. After the pilot study, one correction was made to the original questionnaire which was replacing the terms ‘mainstream schooling’ by ‘school’ simply. Then, the questionnaire was administered to a large sample of students, including boys and girls and factor analyzed to uncover the internal structure of the views of the students on private tuitions.

3.6.1 Sampling

In this study, a mixture of purposeful and convenient sampling was used (McMillan & Schumacher, 1997). In order to determine the sample size, confidence interval approach was used which is based on the building up of confidence intervals around the sample means by making use of the standard error formula (Malhotra & Dash, 2007). By making use of the formula for determining the sample size for a population of 13902 students having taken part at the S.C examinations 2012, the researcher got a value of 384. As a result, a total of 400 questionnaires were distributed, with in mind that some questionnaires might not be properly filled or some may get lost or damaged, to students of Lower VI both from State and P.S.S.A colleges in all regions of Mauritius. The questionnaires were distributed equally among boys and girls to avoid bias in the collection of data.

3.6.2 Data collection

A letter was sent to each school to explain the purpose of the study and for permission to distribute the questionnaires to Lower VI students (Appendix 2). The questionnaire was handed personally to the selected students, the aims of the survey were explained and the filled questionnaires were collected after 2 days.

3.6.3 Questionnaire design

Most of the time, questionnaires contain two types of questions open ended or closed (Sinnott, 2008).

With open-ended questions the researcher gives the opportunity to the respondent as to how they write their answer making way to a more in-depth answer. However they are more difficult to classify into groups to facilitate analysis. A closed question will restrain the answer that may be given and usually asks the respondent to choose among a variety of possibilities given by the researcher.

However, closed questions help the respondent to complete the questionnaire quickly and they also help the researcher to classify the information and analyse the data with great ease (Sekaran, 1992; McNeil et al, 2005). For this research, a survey questionnaire was designed for the collection of data which contains multiple options of Likert scaling from 0 to 4 for the range of choice for the respondent (Appendix 1). The questionnaire consisted of six sections, with section A consisting of two questions on general information about private tuitions (number of hours students took private tuitions per week, number of subjects in which the students took private tuitions), section B consisting of nineteen questions on positive impacts of private tuitions at S.C level from the students’ point of view, section C consisting of ten questions on the negative impacts of private tuitions at S.C level from the students’ point of view, section D consisting of nine questions on the extent to which private tuitions at S.C level are replacing mainstream schooling from students’ point of view,section E consisting of two questions with respect to improvement of academic performance from the students’ point of view and the last section consisting of six questions concerning the demographic profile of the student.

3.6.4 Data analysis

The data was analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20. The answer for each question provided by the student was fed into SPSS version 20. The gender of students, type of school, the region in which the student lives, the attempt at S.C examination 2012, the socioeconomic status of the student, the number of hours during which the student took private tuitions per week, the highest educational attainment of the student’s parents were analysed by making use of pie charts and bar charts. For the sections B, C and D, an exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was done in order to group the answers obtained for the different questions into some main factors, with the Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) test being performed to verify whether EFA could be done. The different factors were found out by making use of the eigenvalue in SPSS version 20 which was set at a value of greater than 1. The factor loading of each variable forming part of each factor was also calculated by making use of the rotated matrix table in SPSS version 20. Some questions which were in the different sections had to be deleted due to cross loading, low loading factor, or theoritically the grouping of the question with others did not make sense. Secondly, hypotheses and sub-hypotheses were made for each research objective and each sub hypothesis was subjected to chi square testing where a crosstab was generated and the value of χ2 and the p value were analysed, together with the phi value to see the degree of association, if ever.

Objective 1: To find out the positive impacts of private tuitions on the overall development of the student at S.C level.

H0: There is no relationship between private tuitions and the overall development of the student at S.C level.

H1: There is a relationship between private tuitions and the overall development of the student at S.C level.

In order to test for the above hypothesis, the following sub-hypotheses were tested for the different factors found by EFA.


Factor 1: Economic/career benefits

H0: There is no relationship between private tuitions at S.C level and economic/career benefits for the student in the future.

H1: There is a relationship between private tuitions at S.C level and economic/career benefits for the student in the future.

Factor 2: Better academic performance and more efforts

H0: There is no relationship between private tuitions at S.C level and better academic performance/more efforts.

H1: There is a relationship between private tuitions at S.C level and better academic performance/more efforts.

Factor 3: Increased level of socialisation with friends

Ho: There is no relationship between private tuitions at S.C level and increased level of socialisation of the student.

H1: There is a relationship between private tuitions at S.C level and increased level of socialisation of the student.

Factor 4: Better quality of teaching in private tuitions

H0: There is no relationship between private tuitions at S.C level and better quality of teaching.

H1: There is a relationship between private tuitions at S.C level and better quality of teaching.

Objective 2: To find out the negative impacts of private tuitions on the overall development of the student at S.C level.

H0: There is no relationship between private tuitions and the overall development of the student at S.C level.

H1: There is a relationship between private tuitions and the overall development of the student at S.C level.

In order to test for the above hypothesis, the following sub-hypotheses were tested.


Factor 1: Negative psychological affecting students concerning private tuitions

H0: There is no relationship between private tuitions at S.C level and the negative psychological factors affecting the student concerning private tuitions.

H1: There is a relationship between private tuitions at S.C level and the negative psychological factors affecting the student concerning private tuitions.

Factor 2: Deterioration of health of the student who takes private tuitions

H0: There is no relationship between private tuitions at S.C level and deterioration of the health of the student.

H1: There is a relationship between private tuitions at S.C level and deterioration of the health of the student.

Factor 3: Lack of family and leisure time faced by student who takes private tuitions

H0: There is no relationship between private tuitions at S.C level and lack of family and leisure time by the student.

H1: There is a relationship between private tuitions at S.C level and lack of family and leisure time by the student.

Objective 3: To find out to what extent private tuitions are replacing mainstream schooling.

Factor 1: Higher level of importance of private tuitions as compared to mainstream schooling

H0: There is no relationship between private tuitions at S.C level and their level of importance from the student’s point of view

H1: There is a relationship between private tuitions at S.C level and their level of importance from the student’s point of view

Factor 2: More care and attention from private tutors than teachers at school

H0: There is no relationship between private tuitions at S.C level and students getting more care and attention from private tutors.

H1: There is a relationship between private tuitions at S.C level and students getting more care and attention from private tutors

Finally, a multi regression analysis was carried out to investigate the whether there was a linear relationship between academic performance at S.C level, measured by the grade point average (G.P.A), and socioeconomic status of parents, intensity of private tuitions per week, region in which the student lived, and highest educational attainment of parents.

The grade point average is calculated by dividing the aggregate that the student obtained at S.C examinations 2012 by six since the aggregate is calculated for the 6 best grades. The grade point average has a range of 1.00 to 9.00. The lower the grade point average, the better is the academic performance of the student.

3.6.5 Validity and reliability

In this research, a mixed method approach was adopted which was a good way for data collection (Collins and Hussey, 2003). The questionnaire was designed to obtain information from students of Lower VI. If students did not understand anything about the questionnaire, they could contact the researcher through his phone number or mail address (Appendix 1). Confidentiality of the data was made sure which could minimise the subject bias. The questionnaire did not face any observer error due to the fact that it was formatted in a survey form.This study applied Cronbach’s coefficient alpha to measure the internal reliability of survey, where a value of greater than 0.6 showed fair to very good reliability.

Validity of the research means the degree to which the conclusions of this study gave a picture about the facts (Collis and Hussey 2003). A pilot study, through which language or any other misconceptions was eliminated, was carried out in order to maximise validity. The validity of each question into the main factors done by EFA was checked by the factor loading in the rotated component matrix, where a factor of greater than 0.5 showed that the question was valid.

3.7 Ethical issues

Ethical issues are very important to take into consideration when carrying out a survey. According to Neuman (1995), the researcher must protect human rights, control them and make sure that people’s interests are well respected. In this research, all ethical requirements were followed throughout all parts of the research. Before collecting data, permission was sought to the relevant institutions. The participants were asked to participate on a voluntary basis and given the opportunity to withdraw from participation if they felt to do so. Participants were informed that when they have answered and returned the questionnaire, it was assumed that they agreed to participate in this study. All participants were given the assurance that the answers provided will be kept anonimous and strictly confidential.

3.8 Conclusion

The chapter starts with an examination of the research process including the philosophical approaches of positivism and phenomenology leading to a debate on the nature of the current research resulting in a mixed method being decided on. Data for this study was collected from students of Lower VI through a survey questionnaire after the qualitative phase which consisted of focus groups interviews. Upon completion of the study, the data was given a code which was fed on to the statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) version 20.0 for Windows. Lastly, the ethical issues involved in this study were also presented.


6.1 Introduction

In this chapter, a conclusion will be presented on whether the objectives set for this research have been successfully met and a brief presentation about the different steps which have been followed in this research in order to meet the objectives. Sections about the limitations of the research and recommendations following the conclusions from this research will also be presented.

6.2 Implications of current research

This research which had to look into the impacts of private tuitions at S.C level on the development of the students, to what extent private tuitions at S.C level help in boosting academic performance of the students, and to what extent private tuitions at S.C level are replacing mainstream schooling from students’ point of view. A mixed method approach was used in the survey where in the first instance a qualitative phase was used in which a focus group interview which consisted of 10 students of Lower VI who were asked to give their opinions on private tuitions at S.C level, was done which helped in the design of the questionnaire for the quantitative part, which consisted of first of all a pilot study. The questionnaire which consisted of six sections was slightly modified after the pilot study, the validity of the questions were checked using Cronbach alpha in SPSS 20 and distributed randomly to 400 students of Lower VI, with equal numbers of boys and girls. The results were input into SPSS 20 and an EFA was done in three main sections in order to group the questions asked into main factors. Hypothesis testing, which consisted of chi-square testing, was done on the different research objectives which consisted of the different factors linked to private tuitions at S.C level. The results showed that private tuitions at S.C level, according to the students, had an association with, economic/career benefits in the future, better academic performance/more effort, higher level of socialisation with peer friends, better quality of teaching by private tutors on the positive impacts of private tuitions at S.C level on the development of the students. On the negative impacts, the results showed that private tuitions at S.C level. According to students, had an association with, negative psychological factors affecting the students’ mind, lack of family/leisure time for the students, and deterioration of the students’ health. Concerning the extent to which private tuitions at S.C level were replacing mainstream schooling, it was found that students found private tutors to provide a better quality of teaching, to provide more care and attention, and the former gave a higher level of importance to private tuitions at S.C level. The research also shed light on the linear relationship between private tuitions at S.C level and SES of students, region in which the students live, intensity of private tuitions, and highest educational attainment of parents, according to the students. All the findings of this research were compared with the literature and most of them were in line with the latter.

In combining both qualitative and quantitative methods, the aim was to complement the findings from each method and produce results which highlight the contributions of both and provide an integrated understanding of relevant issues. Thus the qualitative methods informed the quantitative methods and the rich data and resultant findings from both methods informed the framework for managing quality based on stakeholder values. A significant strength of this study is therefore the methodological approach which can be replicated in any setting, and not only offers the advantages of methodological and sample triangulation but also systematically explores and establishes the quality values and similarities and differences thereof between a considerably large population of the primary stakeholders at S.C level.

6.3 Limitations of the current research

The research was conducted in order to have the opinions of Lower VI students about private tuitions at S.C level. Since the syllabus prepared by University of Cambridge for the different subjects at S.C level is specific for Mauritius, the findings of the current research may not be transferable to other countries.

6.4 Recommendations based on the current research

Based on the findings of the current research, the following recommendations can be made to the stakeholders concerning private tuitions at S.C level in the Education Sector, which include Government, parents, teachers and students;

Regulation and control.

The policy maker which is the Government of Mauritius cannot ban private tuitions at S.C level since it is a key transition point as discussed before. However, the private tuitions can be regulated and controlled;

(a) so that a mainstream teacher does not have the right to give private tuition to his/her student who works with him/her in class. This will allow the teacher to improve his/her teaching skills and also the student who saves the exhorbitant tuition fee.

(b) so that private tutors give private tuitions to a group of not more than 20 pupils for more care and individual attention.

© so that the income obtained by private tutors can be known and properly charged.

Professional development of teachers.

Th e cause of private tuitions at S.C level is mainly due to lack of teaching quality, care & attention provided by mainstream teachers. As a result, it is strongly recommended that teachers at S.C level be given training at MIE on the pedagogy part, and also Government must give grants to all teachers in order to pursue postgraduate courses and conduct research in their respective fields and generally in education.

Devise a curriculum based on a mixture of Northern and local epistemologies.

The syllabus devised by Cambridge at S.C level is too bulky for many students who have to take private tuitions to meet the high expectations. The syllabus of each subject should be revised by a panel of professionals which should include resource persons from MIE, Cambridge University and, Ministry of Education. The relevance of the syllabus has to be taken into consideration based on the reality of the Mauritian context.

Give more care and attention to low performing students who cannot afford high intensity of private tuitions.

Teachers should identify low performing students during assessments and coursework and provide necessary remedial action, not just on paper, but properly planned through an action research. Teachers should be encouraged to work extra hours with the low performers and compensated in terms of money.

Abolish key transition points in the education system.

Though a very drastic measure, but the last action that can be taken is to abolish ranking in the three key transition points, C.P.E, S.C, and H.S.C. In doing so, less stress will be on the students and their parents in order to have a very good academic result which leads to a star college, or being laureate. As a result, more importance can be put on the "educere" part of education which will lead to the holistic development of the students and less importance will be given to private tuitions at all levels.