In co-operation with Public Services International, Education International will for the first time hold a session on public services and GATS at the upcoming World Trade Organisation (WTO) Public Forum in September.
The forum is an important platform for dialogue among the many stakeholders of the multilateral trading system. With the outcome of the Doha negotiations still uncertain, this year's forum offers an opportunity for debate and discussion on the future of the trading system. In their session, EI and PSI will address a variety of questions that reflect on the current state of play in the GATS negotiations concerning public services, such as:
- Will the current round of GATS negotiations lead to greater coverage of public services like health care and education?
- What are the risks and opportunities for governments and key stakeholders if public services are included in the GATS?
- Will new disciplines on domestic regulation affect the ability of governments to regulate public services to meet domestic needs?
- To what extent would the inclusion of public services in the GATS promote or hinder development objectives?
- How can governments balance trade liberalization in services with the need to ensure the efficient, universal, and affordable provision of quality public services?
"These issues concern the very ethos of education," said EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen. "To put it in the starkest possible way: is education about giving each child, each young man or woman, the opportunity to develop his or her full potential as a person and as a member of society? Or is education to be a service sold to clients, who are considered from a young age to be consumers and targets for marketing?"
The forum will take place in Geneva from 24-25 September. For the topics to be discussed at the forum, please click on the link below.