Education International
Education International

Teacher union members fight to protect quality education from free trade

published 19 May 2015 updated 27 May 2015

The Independent Education Union of Australia, an affiliate of Education International, is lobbying the country’s government to reject the inclusion of educational services into the controversial Trade in Services Agreement.

In a letter sent to the federal Minister for Trade and Investment, Andrew Robb, the Independent Education Union of Australia (IEU) outlines the threat to Australian schools by the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), given that the broad scope of the agreement means education services could be impacted directly or indirectly.

“Australia has a strong and vibrant educational system where state education systems and publicly funded faith based and independent schools work as partners to deliver quality education to students,” said IEU Federal Secretary Chris Watt.

He explained that the inclusion of education into the TiSA “raises significant and serious concerns”, as trade rules are legally binding and can open the door to the commercialisation and privatisation of education. He also stressed that this will undermine the existing regulatory safe guards of our education system and limit governments from regulating the actions of any overseas corporate providers of education.

TiSA fails teachers

The federal secretary stressed that the working conditions and job security of IEU members face serious risks if education is included in free trade agreements. He warned that exposing them to exploitation by corporate companies, profit will be placed above the delivery of quality education.

Further action is planned and IEU members are encouraged to lobby their local MP and ask the question: “Will you protect quality education and exclude education from the Trade in Services Agreement?”