This mixed-methods study explored the nature, effectiveness, and policy implications of the fee-charging private supplementary tutoring (PT)—including online—that first-year Kazakhstani university students attended over the last 12 months. The data were collected from 952 participants using a close-ended questionnaire followed by semi-structured online interviews with 22 participants. The study found that the PT market expanded during the COVID-19 pandemic, during which 750 out of the 952 participants (81%) received PT. Lack of parental follow-up, limited preparation by schoolteachers on how to deliver online classes during the pandemic, and insufficient support by regular schools for students taking university entrance examinations prompted the participants to seek PT, mainly to obtain state tuition grants for highly selective universities. Despite the health risks of face-to-face PT during the COVID-19 pandemic, several participants did take part in it. The participants exercised their agency by reflecting not only on the drawbacks of online PT but also its advantages, including saving time, energy, and money and being able to revisit the taught material several times, thus, enhancing comprehension. The pedagogical implications of fair access to higher education and regulating PT by introducing codes of practice are presented.
- private supplementary tutoring (PT)
- First-year university students
- Access to prestigious universities
- Highstakes examinations
- A mixed-methods study
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Social Sciences