Ei-iE

Fighting the commercialisation of education

Education is a human right and a public good that can be fully realised only through the provision of free, equitable, inclusive, quality public education. The growing commercialisation and privatisation in and of the sector is the greatest threat to the universal right to education.

Across the world, corporate interests are striving to transform all levels of education, from early childhood to higher education, into yet another market with winners and losers. As private-sector management models are applied to education institutions, employment conditions in the sector are being undermined. As low-fee, low-quality private schools expand rapidly, there is a risk that governments abrogate their responsibility to ensure the right to education for all. Unaccountable corporations have undue influence on education policies and institutions. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this trend which risks transforming education into a commodity, favouring profit over quality education.

As educators, we put students before profit. In 2015 we launched our Global Response to the Commercialisation and Privatisation of Education. Through this campaign, we work to expose and challenge the policies and practices of governments, intergovernmental organisations and international financial institutions which undermine public education and the rights and status of teachers and education support personnel. We also resist global corporate actors, especially education technology providers, who push the commercialisation and privatisation in and of education.

Our work in this area

  1. Opinion 2021-04-28

    “Investing in education: a must for post-pandemic recovery and SDG progress”, by Dennis Sinyolo

    The COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage communities and test education systems around the world.Evidence from Education International’s surveys on the impact of COVID-19 on education shows that the equity and quality gaps have widened because of the pandemic (see for example here and here).

    “Investing in education: a must for post-pandemic recovery and SDG progress”, by Dennis Sinyolo
  2. Opinion 2021-04-12

    “On Edtech, the public good, and democracy”, by David Edwards.

    The COVID-19 pandemic has brought death and despair. However, it has also sharpened our vision. We have seen dangers more clearly and trends that were threatening the health of our societies. In some areas, like inequality, it is apparent to everybody. In others, however, risky developments are partially hidden. These...

    “On Edtech, the public good, and democracy”, by David Edwards.
  3. News 2021-04-06

    Europe: Study on industrial relations and privatisation

    A study for the ETUCE, EI’s European region, showed the impact of market ideology and management practices and privatisation on industrial relations and social dialogue. In addition to looking at the evolution of EU policy in the past decade, researchers studied different methods and results of industrial relations in Francophone...

    Europe: Study on industrial relations and privatisation
  4. Opinion 2021-02-09

    “Post-pandemic reform of higher education: Market-first or purpose-first digital transformation?”, by Ben Williamson and Anna Hogan.

    Educational technologies have become central to higher education during the COVID-19 pandemic. The state of emergency in tertiary systems worldwide has enabled private edtech companies, global tech businesses, and the networks of promoters backing them, to define the post-pandemic future of the university.

    “Post-pandemic reform of higher education: Market-first or purpose-first digital transformation?”, by Ben Williamson and Anna Hogan.
  5. News 2020-12-08

    WIPO’s missed opportunity to produce guidance on copyright exceptions hits education during pandemic

    A legal instrument on copyright exceptions for the use of materials for teaching, learning, research, and the work of cultural heritage organisations is still not available. According to Education International, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) missed an opportunity at its recent Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR)...

    WIPO’s missed opportunity to produce guidance on copyright exceptions hits education during pandemic
  6. News 2020-12-01

    Educators seek to influence UNESCO's 2021/22 Global Education Monitoring Report

    Teacher unions have a key role to play in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their voices must be heard. That’s according to Education International in its latest contribution to the Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report consultations on non-state actors.

    Educators seek to influence UNESCO's 2021/22 Global Education Monitoring Report
  7. News 2020-11-25

    Survey Report | Teaching with Tech: The Role of Education Unions in Shaping the Future

    Today Education International released the report of its Future of Work in Education Global Survey on the use of technology in education. Produced by Dr Christina Colclough, the report was launched during a special session of the Education International Executive Board.

    Survey Report | Teaching with Tech: The Role of Education Unions in Shaping the Future
  8. Opinion 2020-11-20

    The World Depends on Public Services and Public Services Require Political Will.

    As G20 world leaders meet, it is time for a fundamental overhaul of global investment policy to build for the future. That future depends on public services and the people who provide them. Crisis has brought recognition to “front-line” workers, public and private, who are both visible and essential. However,...

    The World Depends on Public Services and Public Services Require Political Will.
  9. News 2020-11-18

    Asia-Pacific : Global Union Federations in Region Condemn RCEP Trade Agreement

    Education International and six other Global Union Federations joined together in the Asia-Pacific Region to condemn the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), signed on Sunday, 15 November 2020. The trade pact was negotiated in secrecy over more than seven years and many provisions remain unknown. The GUFs cited the danger...

    Asia-Pacific : Global Union Federations in Region Condemn RCEP Trade Agreement
  10. Opinion 2020-10-16

    “Privatisation tendencies in Dominican education: Heterarchy, network governance and new philanthropy”, by D. Brent Edwards Jr., Mauro C. Moschetti, Alejandro Caravaca.

    The privatisation of education is manifesting in increasingly complex ways. These range from the participation of private actors in the provision of education services to the incorporation of business logics in public education. To be sure, the variety of forms in which this phenomenon manifests presents challenges when it comes...

    “Privatisation tendencies in Dominican education: Heterarchy, network governance and new philanthropy”, by D. Brent Edwards Jr., Mauro C. Moschetti, Alejandro Caravaca.
  11. News 2020-10-16

    New Study Examines Privatisation of Education in the Dominican Republic

    A new study published by Education International reveals the mechanisms that favour the privatisation of education in the Dominican Republic, exploring its impact on the education system and the right to quality education.

    New Study Examines Privatisation of Education in the Dominican Republic
  12. News 2020-10-15

    Iraq: Education union demands improvements in the education sector

    On the occasion of World Teachers’ Day, 5 October, the Kurdistan Teachers’ Union (KTU) called on the government to improve educators’ working and living conditions and the quality of education at all levels.

    Iraq: Education union demands improvements in the education sector