Shadow Education from Shadows to the Light: Case of Basic High Schools in Turkey

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Tasti O. Y., Demir C.

EGITIM VE BILIM-EDUCATION AND SCIENCE, vol.47, no.211, pp.139-169, 2022 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 47 Issue: 211
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.15390/eb.2022.11222
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, EBSCO Education Source, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.139-169
  • Keywords: Educational equality, High-stakes testing, Multiple-case study, Neoliberal policies, Private schools, School quality, PRIVATE, CURRICULUM, QUALITY, DEMAND, URBAN
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


This study situates how shadow education has become more visible in Turkey after an educational policy change in 2014 that regulated the closure of private tutoring centers ???dershanes- and their transformation into a new type of private school called Basic High School -Temel Lise. In this multiple-case study, we interviewed school stakeholders and observed various processes such as classes and recitation hours at five Basic High Schools in Ankara, Turkey. The findings mainly revealed that Basic High Schools had a dual education structure in which the formal curricula were implemented and students were prepared for the university entrance examination, with an emphasis on the latter. Teaching to test was prioritized in these shadow schools for profit while most of the aspects of school quality were neglected. Further, since these schools were categorized as private schools, the school fee for these schools, although lower than the elite ones, was affordable for middle and high-socio-economic-status families. Such an approach, we conclude, exacerbated existing educational inequalities in Turkey while widening the achievement gap on the university entrance examination between students from different socioeconomic classes. The findings of this study might help educators and policy-makers in the organization of the schooling process at private schools to eliminate educational inequalities while ensuring quality education for all.