Education International
Education International

Atlanta: Privatisation highlighted at CIES conference

published 9 March 2017 updated 13 March 2017

Education International’s research work related to its Global Response campaign on the privatisation and commercialisation in and of education was showcased at this year’s Comparative International Education Society (CIES) conference.

The privatisation and commercialisation in and of education was placed centre stage by Education International (EI) at the Comparative International Education Society (CIES) conference, held in Atlanta, US, from 5-9 March.

EI presented research projects related to its Global Response campaign to an international research audience and built strategic alliance for its future research activities.

Public-private partnerships

Public-private partnerships (PPPs) came under the spotlight in panels under the theme, ‘Seeing like the state, calculating like a business: PPPs revisited’. Organised by independent network NORRAG, the Open Society Foundations, and EI, the panels highlighted how businesses increasingly speak the language of the public sector and how the public sector is increasingly adopting business logic.

Sangeeta Kamat, University of Massachusetts, presented the findings of EI’s Global Response study, ‘Profiting from the poor: The edu-solutions industry’. She outlined how private actors plant private sector logic into India’s education system.

Zeena Zakharia and Francine Menashy, University of Massachusetts Boston, presented preliminary findings of the Global Response research looking at the entry point of private actors in the education of Syrian refugees. The full report will be released in April.

Author and speaker Joanne Barkan addressed privatisation trends in the US and Mireille de Koning, Open Society Foundations, explored the topic of PPPs.

The papers presented at these two panels will be included in a volume of collected papers issued as an open-access publication as part of NORRAG’s thematic focus area “global governance”.

Latin America

Privatisation trends in Latin America was the focus of a roundtable addressed by researcher Antoni Verger, Clara Fontdevila, Adrian Zancajo, Mauro Moschetti, Andreu Termes and Brent Edwards. The group discussed EI’s commissioned Latin America mapping, as well as the role and challenges for unions in mobilising to reverse privatisation trends and policies.

Book award winner

A highlight at the conference was that Antoni Verger, Clara Fontdevila and Adrian Zancajo received the 2016 Globalisation and Education Special Interest Group (SIG) book award for the EI-commissioned book, The privatization of education: A political economy of global education reform. The book was published by Teacher College Press and praised for its clear-eyed and theoretically rich contribution to the larger debate on privatisation and education in the context of global education reforms.