This research investigates the phenomenon of private tutoring in the lower primary stage in public schools in Egypt by examining the views and experiences of teachers and parents. The phenomenological qualitative approach is used in this study to present a rich and vivid portrait of the phenomenon that may contribute to a better understanding of its nature. The analysis depends on semi-structured interviews to serve the methodological essence of the qualitative approach. The outcomes of the research uncovered a rich perception of how the phenomenon of private tutoring at this early age occurs. The participants were 15 teachers and 20 parents in three different primary schools in Cairo. The teachers teach Arabic, Math, and English to grades 1, 2, and 3. They were different in gender and age. The parents were 18 females and 2 males, most of them were in their thirties of age. Findings revealed that parents realized the serious defect in the public schooling system in Egypt which made them lose trust in its significance and used private tutoring as an alternative. The main drive for being involved in this phenomenon was that they believe Education is a public good and the main path for their children to have a better future. Parents pay money for private tutors seeking foundation for their children. They think that if their children have competence in the basic language and numerical literacy at this early age, they would go through the next educational phases more smoothly. Teachers revealed their own reasons for being involved in the phenomenon. The financial factor appears to be the only drive. Private tutoring is the only way for fulfilling their financial needs as they are severely underpaid and the gap between their salaries and needs is huge. They sometimes expressed it plainly saying, we need money, other times they mixed it with anger and agony. There is a prevailing sense of despair and mistrust among public school teachers on increasing their salaries. They feel negligence, marginalization, and a lack of a serious intention to improve their financial status. Teachers see that they should be the Ministry of Education's priority to reform education in Egypt. They claim that the huge sums of money spent on developing new curriculums, assessment tools, and professional development programs are of no use as long as their salaries remain the same and their voices are unheard. Keywords: Private tutoring, education in Egypt, education reform in Egypt, foundation, financial drive, social justice.


International & Comparative Education Department

Degree Name

MA in International & Comparative Education

Graduation Date


Submission Date

January 2020

First Advisor

Toprak, Mustafa

Committee Member 1

Bekele, Teklu Abate

Committee Member 2

Karkouti, Ibrahim M.


097 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis


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Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

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Firstly, I am grateful to Allah who supported me to work on and finish this research. At many moments of obstacles and drawbacks, I touched His hidden power pushing me to proceed. I would like to express my deep thankfulness to my thesis supervisor, Dr. Mustafa Toprak, who provided me with the most help and professionalism throughout the journey of conducting this work. He saved no effort to guide me to be on the right track while working on this thesis as he always devoted his precious time and valuable experiences with endless sincerity. This research would have never come out without his help. Also, I would like to thank Dr. Teklu Abate Bekele and Dr. Ibrahim M. Karkouti for their fruitful comments on this thesis. I feel much gratitude to the AUC community and especially the Graduate School of Education; professors, colleagues, and administration as they played a wonderful learning symphony that enriched my academic knowledge in the field of education. Thank you all as I have benefitted much during studying my courses. At last, I dedicate this work to my family and to my father’s soul who supported me with all he had, as he always dreamt to witness my graduation ceremony, but Allah always chooses the best for us. He chose his soul to celebrate this ceremony in Heaven.