Shadow Education in Sri Lanka during COVID-19:Trends, Impacts, and Role in Relation to Mainstream Education

Research team

Ashani Abayasekara
Usha Perera
View profile
Thisali de Silva





Published Year

May 2023


The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has created the largest disruption to education systems worldwide. Although private tutoring has been on the rise, it has received minimal attention in terms of policy focus to date. This study aims at examining the trends and importance of in-person and online shadow education in Sri Lanka, assessing pandemic impacts on the demand, quality, accessibility, and affordability of online shadow education in relation to online mainstream education, identifying the benefits and drawbacks of in-person and online private tutoring, and identifying potential measures to improve the benefits of shadow education, while minimizing its drawbacks. The findings of the study suggest that the demand for tuition classes expanded in the context of dysfunctional school classes. Most students faced accessibility issues for online classes during the pandemic while accessibility to private tutoring increased vis-à-vis mainstream education.