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Dr Achala Gupta BSc, MA, MPS, MPhil, PhD, FHEA

Lecturer in Sociology of Education

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Achala’s research focuses on investigating educational issues sociologically. Her current interests include education delivery systems (formal and supplementary) and schooling practices in Asia, and students’ aspirations and transition into higher education in Europe.

She has published research articles on the heterogeneity of middle-class advantage, teacher-entrepreneurialismsocial legitimacy and the shadowing process of private tutoring in India. Achala has also contributed to the higher education literature by exploring how students are socially constructed in Denmark, England, Ireland, Germany, Poland, and Spain.

Before joining the University of Southampton, Achala worked as a Research Fellow (at UCL Institute of Education and the University of Surrey) on an  ERC-funded Eurostudents project (led by Professor Rachel Brooks). This comparative research project aimed to investigate the various ways in which students are made sense of within the European higher education sector. Before joining the Eurostudents project team, Achala worked at the Asia Research Institute in the National University of Singapore, where she worked as a Research Associate on another comparative project that focused on Global Asian Universities and International Students’ Mobilities (in Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, and China).

Achala’s doctoral research was an institutional ethnography that examined practices in the formal education system from the vantage point of private tutoring (‘shadow education’) in contemporary India (see, Gupta, 2019; 2020; 2021 for discussions on this topic).


PhD supervision

I would be keen to receive proposals for doctoral work in any of the following areas: sociology of education (particularly shadow education); educational inequalities and disadvantage; schooling practices and higher education.

Research group

Centre for Research in Inclusion

Affiliate research groups

Leadership, Effective Education & Policy

Expert at India Centre for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development

Research interests

  • Sociology of education
  • Shadow education
  • Educational inequality
  • Social mobility
  • Comparative research
  • Higher education

Research Project

Associate member: Eurostudents project


At the University of Southampton

  • Ethics Reviewer for research conducted in the Faculty of Social Sciences
  • Academic Integrity Officer for the Southampton Education School

Professional membership

  • UK’s Higher Education Academy
  • British Educational Research Association
  • UKRI Early-career Forum
  • Council for European Studies
  • Comparative and International Education Society
  • European Sociological Association
  • British Sociological Association
  • Early Career Higher Education Researcher (ECHER) group

Reviewer for

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  • BSc: Sociology of Education; Internationalisation & Education
  • MSc Army: Post-compulsory Education and Training in Context
  • MSc: Globalisation & Education Policy; The Social Context of Education & Lifelong Learning
  • Undergraduate and postgraduate dissertation supervision
Dr Achala Gupta
Southampton Education School University of Southampton Building 32 Southampton SO17 1BJ United Kingdom

Room Number : 32/2073 /M18

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