Hidden privatisation in public education

By Stephen J. Ball and Deborah Youdell

published 15 May 2008 updated 11 January 2022
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The trend towards privatization of public education is hidden. It is camouflaged by the language of “educational reform,” or introduced stealthily as “modernization”.

In the education sector, governments have historically made considerable use of contracting for non-core educational services, such as school transport, food services and cleaning. However, in recent years there has been a broadening in the scope of contracting undertaken in the education sector. In many countries this practice is now so normalized that it provokes little or no public comment. Trade unions have a major role to play in the monitoring and analysis of privatization moves and tendencies. the collection of information, construction of databases, and dissemination of information related to these tendencies is a key service and resource both for members and the public at large.