Shadow Education: “to-be” or “not-to-be” that is the question
The past few decades has witnessed a prolific yet dispersed growth of a parallel system of education which can be termed as “Shadow Education”. This includes a broad spectrum of activities – from parental mentoring to organized competitive coaching for supplementing mainstream education systems. One the one hand, theoretically, it is easier to extoll the multiple virtues of a pseudo-support educational practice like the one in question. On the other hand, policy makers, institutions and citizens at large must understand the long term ramifications of sustained growth of such a system, the need for which arises prima-facie from delivery lacuna of the mainstream education system but grows to encompass various extraneous resources that are conducive to serving higher needs of aspiring students whose demand cannot (and may not) be served through mainstream education system delivery.
Perspectives amongst educationists, administrators, parents and students range from Shadow Education being seen as supplementary to the “mainstream” education system to one which is conflicting and outright debilitating. Shadow Education may not have found its admirers among all but nevertheless it continues to flourish across all tiers of urbanity indicating its increased acceptance, popularity and perceived benefits. Consequentially, this becomes a matter of public debate and hence a matter of evidence based research. However, there has been limited research in the country either at a national or at State level. This study, adopting a combination of primary and secondary research, is designed to explore some of the critical questions outlined above.