Call for Proposals

Research on Privatisation Trends in Education in the Caribbean



This research will map the extent and impact of privatisation and commercialisation of education in the Caribbean. The research will inform the development of education union national campaign plans to confront policy trends that hinder the achievement of quality free public education for all.


Privatisation in and of education represents one of the greatest global challenges to education as a public good and to equality in education access and outcomes. The Caribbean is not immune to the threat of privatisation. For instance, early childhood education is almost entirely privatised in most Caribbean countries. Endogenous privatisation, where private sector thinking and marketisation policies enter public education, is also a pressing concern.

As in many other parts of the world, in the Caribbean, privatisation processes in education must be understood in tandem with failures in the public education system as a result of underfunding or poor coverage, especially in hard-to-reach areas. In the last few decades, huge strides have been made in education access in Caribbean countries in terms of enrolment rates, especially at primary level. However, auxiliary fees in public education still serve as a barrier to universal and equitable access across all levels of education, and quality continues to suffer as a result of the enduring effects of structural adjustment, government austerity and wage cuts. High debt and budget restraints continue to challenge government’s ability to meet their responsibility to guarantee the right to education to all Caribbean children.

Though well documented in some parts of the world, little research has been conducted into privatisation trends and their consequences in the Caribbean region specifically. In response to this gap, Education International would like to commission a researcher to map privatisation trends in the Caribbean region and the impact of these trends on the fulfilment of the right to education. The research findings will contribute to a critical debate about the links between students' right to quality education and teachers' right to quality working conditions, and the regulation of private actors in the region.


•    Collect both primary (through surveys and/or interviews) data and secondary data to inform a study to understand the extent and intensity of privatisation trends in the Caribbean.

•    Provide a mapping of the current trends in education privatisation in the Caribbean.

      - Explore the causes, forms and dynamics of privatisation in and of education in the Caribbean. Both exogenous and endogenous forms of privatization should be investigated.

      - Explore how the privatisation of education is specifically manifested, if at all, at each level of the education process, from early childhood education to tertiary education.

•    Provide a mapping of the key actors involved in privatising education in the region and examine the strategies and instruments used for this purpose.

      - Identify and explore the role of any specific domestic actors in promoting education privatization policies such as corporations or lobby groups.

      - Examine the role/s, if any, played by international actors such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Caribbean Development bank in the promotion of privatisation.

•    Investigate the role of the public policy of respective Caribbean governments in relation to privatisation trends (for looking into the possible existence of subsidies to the private sector, regulations, public-private partnerships and the extent of control and accountability over private education providers) and the role of regional intergovernmental organisations such as the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Organization of East Caribbean States (OECS).

•    Examine the impact of privatisation trends on teachers, school leaders and education support workers in the region and explore how privatisation affects their work and their wellbeing.

•    Examine the impact of privatisation trends on education quality and equity.

•    Maintain a cross-cutting gender perspective throughout the research and take into consideration intersecting factors such as socio-economic or class status, age, ethnicity, religion or any other significant factors that may emerge from the research.



•    A clear theoretical framework to guide the research;

•    A rigorous review of the pertinent literature, and analysis of available statistics, legislative and policy documents;

•    Analysis of survey and/or interview data from key informants;

•    An interim report consisting of a summarised update on the status of the research (in bullet point format);

•    A final research report completed within the agreed timeline (30-40 pages approximately, written in English);

•    A summary of the research findings (maximum 3-4 pages);

•    A blog post about the research findings for dissemination on one of the EI websites;

•    A presentation of the research findings to EI member organisations, leadership and/or partners at a time and location to be determined (travel and accommodation costs to be borne by EI). It is likely that the researcher will be invited to present the findings during the Caribbean Union of Teachers (CUT) conference in December 2020.



Research should start in April and be completed by September 2020.


Scale and Scope of Work

The research will consist of desk research and an empirical component with surveys and/or interviews focused on the topics mentioned in the research objectives stated above.
Whilst a comprehensive regional mapping of privatisation trends in education in the region would be hugely valuable, the budgetary limitations of this project may prohibit such an extensive mapping. We invite researchers to define a proposed geographical scope for the study.  

Education unions in the following countries have engaged in a capacity building workshop about the privatisation and commercialisation in and of education globally and would be particularly interested in understanding more about the manifestations of education privatisation in their contexts: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and Trinidad and Tobago.



15,000-20 000 EUR fully inclusive of all costs (including flights, accommodation, internet access, phone calls, documentary materials etc.). Please include a detailed budget in your proposal.


Terms of the Contract

The planned research period is a total 6 months, during which the contractor will liaise with an EI contact person on the progress of the research. The research will remain confidential to EI and the contractor until its publication.
As part of the contract, we expect researchers to liaise with EI's member organisations in the countries included in the research.
Schedule of Payments
•    1/3 on exchange of a signed contract
•    1/3 on receipt of the interim report
•    1/3 on receipt of the final report


Proposal Preparation

Interested parties are requested to submit their CV and list of publications accompanied by a brief concept note (2 -3 pages) by 25th March 2020. The concept note should state the research methodology, the scope and scale of the research, a proposed timeline for the 6 months, and budget information.
Applicants should submit their proposals by e-mail to with “GR Caribbean”
in the subject line.
Should you have further questions or require more information, please do not hesitate to contact
us by email to:


Local Researchers

We strongly encourage and welcome applications of local academics and/or the involvement of local academics and doctoral students. Please indicate in your application whether you have experience in the Caribbean yourself and/or have contact with researchers in the Caribbean. Preference will be given to proposals from an individual or a team that includes researchers from the Caribbean region.


About Education International (EI)

EI is the world’s largest federation of unions, representing over thirty million teachers and education workers across the globe. EI views States as the main duty-bearers in the provision of free quality education for all, as well as the nominative guarantor of teachers’ and education support personnel’s labour rights and decent working conditions.


EI policy on privatisation in education

2015 Resolution on privatisation in and of education
2019 Resolution on privatisation in and of Education

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