The 7th Education International (EI) World Congress meeting in Ottawa, Canada, from 21nd to 26th July 2015, adopts the addendum to section/paragraphs 3, 4 and 19, on the privatisation of education services, of the Education Policy Paper, ‘Building the Future through Quality Education’, which was adopted by the EI 6th World Congress in 2011.
1. EI is concerned that privatisation and commercialisation policies have the effect of undermining the right to free quality public education and may create, exacerbate and entrench inequalities in access and participation as well as erode teaching and learning conditions in schools.
2. Efforts to privatise and commercialise education are undermining labour relations and impacting negatively on teachers’ and education support personnel’s working conditions and rights. Such policies also dismantle democratic decision-making and public accountability crucial to education governance. Governments must not abdicate their responsibility to provide free, quality, publicly-funded education, and to promote education as a fundamental human right and public good at all levels of education.
3. EI is opposed to the implementation of privatisation policies, deregulation and the reduction of public services in the name of reducing government deficits and expanding education. EI defends communities’ right to regulate education quality in the public interest, to include teachers in decision-making, and to protect against profit-driven corporate influence, or even dominance, in the education sector.
4. All providers of education must follow the same rules, regulations and procedures. These should require equitable access for all students to high quality education including highly trained and qualified teachers and academic staff, regardless of ability to pay and without discrimination. Teachers, academic staff and education support personnel’s rights to decent working conditions, appropriate salaries, fair recruitment and employment and quality professional development must be guaranteed in all contexts. All education workers should have the right to collective bargaining and freedom of association. Teachers and academic staff should be given professional and academic freedom to use teaching methods and classroom approaches that best meet the democratically decided objectives of the education system, and should not be subject to performance-based pay schemes that rely on student learning outcomes measured through standardised tests.
5. Governments should establish mechanisms for social dialogue and education unions need to ensure that they are active participants in policy debates and policy formation, especially where privatisation and commercialisation of education services are being proposed.
6. The influence of corporations and other private actors in education, through the sale of education services and for-profit delivery of education services at all levels, must be counterbalanced by concerted action by Education International and its members, including through building strategic alliances with multilateral and partner organisations.