Education International
Education International

Kenyan unions brace against privatisation

published 9 February 2016 updated 9 February 2016

The growing privatisation of education has led Kenyan trade unions to set up a comprehensive strategy, ranging from research to advocacy, in an effort to preserve the quality and access to education for all.

During a two-day seminar at the end of January (24-26), Kenyan education unionists gathered in Nairobi to coordinate efforts around one common goal: to raise awareness and curb back the growing privatization and commercialization of education in the country. The national campaign is in line with Education International’s (EI) Global Response, aiming at identifying the state of the art in terms of privatisation, and gearing up an evidence-based advocacy strategy.

From analysis to advocacy

During the two-day workshop participants could fully grasp the complexity of a phenomenon that is changing the educational landscape in their country. The seminar provided participants with tools to analyse and challenge assumptions around concepts such as equity, efficiency, effectiveness and affordability in relation to low-cost private schools.

A case study allowed them to discuss the impact of commercialization of education on teachers’ working conditions and the perpetuation of inequalities as regards access and quality of education. Participants could further look at how the Education 2030 agenda can be used to advocate for the promotion of privatization agendas, and how to develop evidence-based advocacy strategies around key messages.

In union lies strength

With representatives from other organisations such as Action Aid and Transparency International present at the meeting, the building of ties and synergies between education unions and other actors from civil society was another key point addressed. In order to create a focused and strategic national action plan, participants were invited to have a closer look at their common narrative and values around education and how they could bring them forward in a coordinated fashion.