Ei-iE

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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 4 May 2016

    Loud opposition by unions to secretly negotiated trade and investment agreements

    Whether in Germany or Belgium, education unionists have clearly reaffirmed their opposition to the possible serious impacts to the education sector and other public services through its inclusion in new trade and investment agreements.

    Loud opposition by unions to secretly negotiated trade and investment agreements
  2. News 28 April 2016

    Liberian teachers stay strong in anti-privatisation struggle

    Despite the Government’s intention to embrace a public-private partnership with Bridge International Academies, a group of civil society organisations remains steadfast in its opposition to the government’s plan to outsource its entire primary school system.

    Liberian teachers stay strong in anti-privatisation struggle
  3. Opinion 27 April 2016

    The European Union in crisis: Is public education the answer?

    By Howard Stevenson, University of Nottingham, UK The events of the last few days highlight the huge problems now faced in the European Union.  The UK has voted to withdraw from membership and this has triggered demands for similar referenda in France, Italy and Holland. Only time will tell if...

    The European Union in crisis: Is public education the answer?
  4. Opinion 25 April 2016

    The globalisation of education privatisation: International trends, multiple paths

    by Antoni Verger, Clara Fontdevila and Adrián Zancajo, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona Education privatisation has become an important topic in the global education agenda, and generates contentious debates between a broad range of education stakeholders. In the last decades, pro-privatisation reforms are advancing all over the world in countries both...

    The globalisation of education privatisation: International trends, multiple paths
  5. Opinion 15 April 2016

    The rise of the global education industry: Some concepts, facts and figures

    By Antoni Verger, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona While the privatisation of education is not a new phenomenon, the increasingly prominent role of profit-oriented private organizations in education across the globe is more recent. Now, more than ever before, a broader range of educational services are produced, exchanged and consumed on...

    The rise of the global education industry: Some concepts, facts and figures
  6. Opinion 15 April 2016

    Liberia: teachers school minister on dangers of privatisation

    By Samuel Johnson, Secretary General of the National Teachers Association of Liberia His Excellency Honorable Education Minister George Werner in his “Partnership Schools forLiberia: Building a Better Future for our Children ” attempts to make the case that outsourcing the education system of Liberia to private actors will produce better...

    Liberia: teachers school minister on dangers of privatisation
  7. Opinion 14 April 2016

    The challenges of education reform and privatisation in Liberia

    By David Archer, Action Aid There are some major challenges in access, quality and equity in the Liberian education system – but is privatisation the right solution? Of the total population, 47% of Liberia have received no education and over 18% of primary aged children today are not enrolled in...

    The challenges of education reform and privatisation in Liberia
  8. News 12 April 2016

    Pearson stakeholders’ report rings alarm bell about privatisation in education

    A report published by Education International has put the world’s biggest private education company on notice, detailing the multinational’s threat to education quality and access through the pursuit of its financial interests.

    Pearson stakeholders’ report rings alarm bell about privatisation in education
  9. News 6 April 2016

    Experts warn against wave of for-profit education

    Academics and union leaders are looking behind the false claims about the commercialisation of education, revealing its devastating effects on schools, society and democracy.

    Experts warn against wave of for-profit education
  10. News 15 March 2016

    Pearson: wrong strategical approach, unions fear

    A coalition of shareholders, led by US and British unions whose pension funds hold stock in the company, have voiced concern that the global education publisher and provider Pearson is building its business strategy on an “over-reliance” on educational testing.

    Pearson: wrong strategical approach, unions fear
  11. News 1 March 2016

    Liberia: for-profit wave about to hit public education

    With the government ready to outsource public education to for-profit providers in Liberia, unions are raising their voice against the perilous consequences that this decision could have on access and quality.

    Liberia: for-profit wave about to hit public education
  12. News 18 February 2016

    Haiti: United Nations report puts for-profit education on the side-lines

    The latest report of the Committee on the Rights of the Child on Haiti underlines the importance of free quality education and warns of the perilous effects of unregulated public-private partnerships.

    Haiti: United Nations report puts for-profit education on the side-lines
  13. News 10 February 2016

    Concern growing over the commercialisation of education in Ghana

    Education unions are urging the Ghanaian government to make amendments to its Education Act to ward off threats of commercialisation following a commitment to review the existing regulatory regime of private schools.

    Concern growing over the commercialisation of education in Ghana