New Education Privatisation (NEP) in English Education
for Speakers of
Other Languages (ESOL):
A Four-nation
Comparative Study

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Principal Investigator
Dr. Choi Taehee
Research Fellow of APCLC,
The Education University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong Team
Professor Chiu Chi Shing
Dr. Chen Junjun
Mr. Prem Prasad Poudel
The Education University of Hong Kong

Australia Team
Professor Bob Lingard
Dr. Susan Creagh
Dr. Anna Hogan
The University of Queensland

Japan Team

Ms. Yoko Yamato
Aoyama Gakuin University
Dr. Izumi Mori
The University of Tokyo
Dr. Keita Takayama
Kyoto University

Greece Team

Professor Anna Tsatsaroni
Professor Konstantinos Dimopoulos
Dr. Polychronis Sifakakis
University of the Peloponnese
Dr. Antigone Sarakinioti
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Ms. Areti Vogopoulou
Higher Technological Educational Institution of Peloponnese

Funding Source
General Research Fund
Project Duration


The study explores the shapers and impacts of privatisation in the area of English education for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and identifies ways to enhance the quality of education without compromising equity. Many governments, including Hong Kong, have recently adopted a new line of privatisation through educational reforms, allowing for third parties’ participation in curriculum delivery in public schools funded by public funds, i.e., New Education Privatisation (NEP) in Patricia Burch’s definition. In addition to general privatisation trends, within-country NEP and its cross-national development at the government/supranational level have rightly attracted scholarly attention. However, the conditions which enable its infiltration into individual schools in the complex nexus of global/local relations has not received due attention, particularly for ESOL. ESOL requires special attention as equity issues can be heightened in it, English being crucial, but not readily accessible, social capital to enhance life chances for marginal groups of students, and is an attractive area for NEP. Furthermore, previous research has aptly provided criticism of NEP-induced changes in teacher professionalism (e.g., fragmentation of the teaching force) and educational quality and equity; however, there is little discussion of how schools and teachers should be prepared for NEP.


The study aims to:

Identify ideas and material and structural conditions at the supra-governmental, national and local levels, which enable and shape the trajectories and strategies of NEP in each national case and in individual schools, specifically in ESOL;
Investigate the impact of NEP in contemporary public schooling and on teachers’ practices, and their professionalism, particularly in ESOL;
Investigate ways to ensure the quality and equity of ESOL provision under NEP; and
Extend the theorisation of NEP in ESOL by investigating its appropriate use in public school systems to ensure quality education for all.

Expected Outcomes

This study will make an original contribution by identifying the shapers and impacts of NEP in ESOL through comparison of NEP in four countries, i.e., China, Japan, Australia and Greece, which have had divergent histories of, and relationships with, ESOL and NEP. Building on the research team’s previous work, this investigation seeks to answer the following research questions:

What ideas and material and structural conditions (global and local) have enabled/shaped the NEP in ESOL in schools in the four national case contexts?
In what ways, does NEP in ESOL change teachers’ practices, their professionalism and public schooling?
What quality is sought in privatised ESOL and how does it affect equity in education?
What lessons can be drawn from the cross-country analysis for the theorisation of NEP in ESOL and its appropriate use in public school systems?

For more information about the study, please contact Dr. Choi Taehee at the email: or at the phone (852) 2948 8763.