Private tutoring (henceforth, PT) has been widely known in the literature by its metaphor of shadow education because the content of tutoring commonly mimics that of schooling: as the curriculum changes in the schools, so it changes in the shadow (Bray & Hajar, 2022). It is a globally pervasive phenomenon. It is provided for a fee and can take various forms, including one-to-one or group tuition in the homes of tutors or students or in tutorial centers, and various forms of online instruction (Zhang, 2021). The aims of this project are (1) to provide a systematic description of the nature and extent of PT at two points of transition in Kazakhstan’s education system; (2) to explore students’ and parents’ views of the reasons for PT use and effectiveness i.e. advantages and disadvantages of PT; (3) to examine schoolteachers’ complex identities as both teachers and private tutors; (4) to uncover the association between fee-charging PT and access to highly selective schools and universities in Kazakhstan i.e. it is related to the equity issue because some families are less able to afford targeted exam entrance tuition, and (5) and to explore if any procedures taken by policymakers in Kazakhstan to regulate the PT market with giving some suggestions in this regard.