published 5 June 2019 updated 24 June 2019


Global Response-commissioned research: In sheep’s clothing: Philanthropy and the privatisation of the ‘democratic’ state

On 20 March, the Global Response commissioned research “In sheep’s clothing: Philanthropy and the privatisation of the ‘democratic’ state”, by Carolina Junemann and Antonio Olmedo, was released in London. After mapping and examining a number of key philanthropic organisations that are currently active in the field of education across the globe, the research puts the spotlight on Absolute Return for Kids (Ark) and its role in promoting the privatisation of education in the UK and beyond, including in countries such as India, Liberia, South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, the Philippines and Brazil.

9th International Summit on the Teaching Profession

A successful International Summit on the Teaching Profession was held in Helsinki, Finland, from 14-15 March. EI partnered with the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland and the Organisation for economic cooperation and development  (OECD) for this summit whose main theme was “The Future of Teaching and Learning”.

EI opened the sessions making a strong case for the role of teachers in shaping the future of public quality education systems for all.

Over the two days, the thematic ISTP sessions addressed three interrelated topics: Leading together; Building strong foundations through innovative pedagogies and strategies – for the first time at the ISTP, early childhood education and care (ECEC) and more specifically pre-primary education was addressed –; and Towards sustainable schools.

38th Session of the Standing Committee on Copyright and related Rights of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)

The week of 1-5 April was an important week for education and educators because of discussions at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in Geneva, Switzerland. The importance of copyright exceptions, including for education, was acknowledged by several speakers during the 38th session of the Standing Committee on Copyright and related Rights(SCCR). Attention was also drawn to the trans-border character of education. More government delegates than at previous meetings of the committee, expressed hopes that during the next meeting in October there will be progress to advance international work on exceptions and limitations. EI attended the SCCR to defend and broaden international copyright legislation that enables teachers, researchers and students to use copyright protected works for teaching and learning and for cross-border collaboration and exchange. It stressed that the exceptions and limitations to the use of copyrighted materials in education would enhance quality education for all.

EI organised a side event in collaboration with the International Federation of Library Associations, and the Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL) entitled “Under the title Truths, Trends and Tropes: Unpacking the Debate around Copyright Exceptions and Limitations”.

The SCCR38 provided information on the upcoming regional events in Singapore, Dominican Republic and Kenya. EI will attend these consultations to express the voice of education workers through their unions in the regions. The EI delegations will include several member organisations The recommendations that will result from the regional seminars will guide the discussions at an international WIPO conference on exceptions and limitations to be held in October of 2019 as well as at the 39th session of the SCCR afterwards.

Global Action Week for Education

On the occasion of the Global Action Week for Education(GAWE) from 24 April-1st May, educators and their unions joined hands with the Global Campaign for Education to call upon governments to make the right to inclusive, equitable, quality, free public education a reality.

Under the slogan “My Education, My right(s)”, this year’s campaign sought to (re)claim the right to education. The GAWE 2019 reaffirmed the need for countries to come up with concrete strategies and actions to achieve sustainable development goal (SDG) 4 on quality education, as well as all the other SDGs and education-related targets.

EI urged governments and the UN to take immediate measures to achieve SDG 4, and indeed all the SDGs. It noted that this will require unequivocal commitment to the right to education, demonstrated through increased investment in education, teachers and all education workers.

Pearson Annual General Meeting

On the occasion of the Pearson Annual General Meeting (AGM), on 4 May, EI, together with representatives of  the National Education Union (NEU), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the University and College Union (UCU) took our objection regarding Pearson’s continuing support of Bridge International Academies directly to the Pearson Board and AGM.

Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) General Secretary Wilson Sossion addressed the AGM, asking why Pearson continues to support and invest in Bridge International Academies (Bridge) when their establishments have been declared illegal by the courts in Nairobi.

This action was supported by a social media campaign launched on Monday 30 April, calling Pearson out for its continuing and  indefensible support of Bridge.

To coincide with the Pearson AGM, on 26 April, a new report was released. “Pearson 2025: Transforming teaching and privatising education data°, by Sam Sellar and Anna Hogan. It discusses the potentially damaging effects of the company’s global strategy for public education. It raises two main issues of concern in relation to the integrity and sustainability of public schooling: the privatisation of data infrastructure and data, which includes innovation and new knowledge about how we learn, turning public goods into private assets; and the transformation and potential reduction of the teaching profession, diminishing the broader purposes and outcomes of public schooling.