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. News 6 July 2006

    TradEducation News issue no.9

    The latest issue of EI's newsletter on GATS has just be published. In this issue, we talk about the failure of the informal WTO ministerial meeting to break the current deadlock, EI meetings with WTO delegations in Geneva, new GATS rules on domestic regulation and EI's reservations about these rules.

    TradEducation News issue no.9
  2. News 4 July 2006

    The World Trade Organisation: Talks enter “crisis” stage

    Time is running out on WTO trade talks after ministers gathering in Geneva at the end of June failed to reach a crucial agreement on tariff and subsidy reductions for agricultural and industrial goods.

    The World Trade Organisation: Talks enter “crisis” stage
  3. News 17 May 2006

    Canada: 29 May – National Fundraising Count Day aims to audit commercial activities in schools

    EI affiliates the Canadian Teachers' Federation (CTF) and the Fédération des syndicats de l’enseignement (FSE) invite teachers and principals across the country to walk around in their schools and carry out an audit of fundraising and advertising activities, as part of a National Fundraising Count Day on May 29.

    Canada: 29 May – National Fundraising Count Day aims to audit commercial activities in schools
  4. News 10 May 2006

    Canada: CTF's survey of schools reveals advertising and commercial activities filling education funding gap

    EI affiliate, the Canadian Teachers' Federation (CTF)'s recent study involving elementary and secondary publicly funded schools across Canada has uncovered some startling revelations on the extent of advertising presence and marketing deals in schools in order to offset chronic underfunding of education systems in every province and territory.

    Canada: CTF's survey of schools reveals advertising and commercial activities filling education funding gap
  5. News 12 April 2006

    TradEducation issue no.8 now available for download!

    The new issue of EI's bulletin on GATS and the WTO, TradEducation, has just been published. In this issue, we talk about the New Zealand government spearheading an effort to open up their private higher education "market", EI's meeting with key WTO negotiators and rules on domestic regulations.

    TradEducation issue no.8 now available for download!
  6. News 3 April 2006

    GATS: EI Lobby at the WTO

    EI held a series of meetings with the officials and negotiators of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as services negotiations resumed in Geneva this week. Monique Fouilhoux, EI’s education and employment co-ordinator, was joined by representatives of affiliates from Australia, Canada, and Denmark.

    GATS: EI Lobby at the WTO
  7. 22 March 2006

    GATS: Education is a right, not a commodity

    In the global economy where neo-liberal values of privatisation and market competition are dominant, it is crucial for those committed to public education to reaffirm the principle that education, including higher, technical, and professional education, is a right and not a merchandise.

    GATS: Education is a right, not a commodity
  8. News 20 March 2006

    Korea: KTU demands a stop to Free Trade Agreement negotiations

    EI affiliate the KTU is urging the government to cease negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Korea and the United States, fearing that it may make public services, including education, subject to private ownership.

    Korea: KTU demands a stop to Free Trade Agreement negotiations
  9. News 7 March 2006

    TradEducation News Issue 7 now available

    The latest issue of TradEducation News, Education International’s publication to help affiliates understand the implication of GATS talks on public education, is now available in PDF format.

    TradEducation News Issue 7 now available
  10. News 15 February 2006

    Strasbourg: 30,000 join EuroManif demonstration

    The EuroManif demonstration in Strasbourg yesterday saw up to 30,000 trade unionists vent fears that the proposed Services Directive could undermine European jobs and social standards.

    Strasbourg: 30,000 join EuroManif demonstration
  11. News 10 February 2006

    Major demonstration to take place in Strasbourg to prevent the inclusion of education in the proposed EU Services Directive

    A campaign has been launched by the European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) to exclude education from the proposed Directive on services in the internal EU market, first presented by the European Commission in Jan 2004.

    Major demonstration to take place in Strasbourg to prevent the inclusion of education in the proposed EU Services Directive
  12. News 24 January 2006

    UNESCO Prize for Peace Education now open for nomination

    The UNESCO Prize for Peace Education is now open for nomination. The purpose of the UNESCO Prize for Peace Education is to promote all forms of action designed to “construct the defences of peace in the minds of men” by rewarding a particularly outstanding example of activity designed to alert...

    UNESCO Prize for Peace Education now open for nomination
  13. News 14 December 2005

    EI's WTO update: the third day

    First of all, a co-ordination and mobilisation meeting was held among delegates from the EI family to discuss the last initiatives of some governments in relation to GATS and the possible scenarios which might turn out later in the day in the meetings with governmental delegations and during the workshops...

    EI's WTO update: the third day
  14. News 14 December 2005

    Press Release 17/2005: 6th World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference - "Take education out of GATS," teachers urge.

    In a statement released today to delegations to the 6th WTO Ministerial Conference, the global union representing more than 29 million teachers and education workers is calling on member countries to remove education services from the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).

    Press Release 17/2005: 6th World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference - "Take education out of GATS," teachers urge.
  15. 20 October 2005

    World Trade Organisation in EI's focus

    EI will send a 3-person delegation to the Hong Kong Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (13-18 December). Thulas Nxesi, Eva-Lis Preisz and Elie Jouen will continue the lobbying undertaken by EI to protect the education sector from the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).

    World Trade Organisation in EI's focus
  16. 7 April 2005

    Brain Drain

    Rich country seeks poor teachers

    Brain Drain