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 27 January 2016

    Mexican union launches anti-privatisation programme

    Committed to defending the constitutional right to quality education, Mexican union SNTE is gearing up for a campaign to halt the spread of for-profit private education in the country.

    Mexican union launches anti-privatisation programme
  2. Opinion 4 January 2016

    Philanthropy, business and the changing roles of government

    By Antonio Olmedo, Roehampton University Since Bill Gates’ speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos back in 2008, there have been a myriad of academic papers, newspaper articles, social media entries, open letters from professional bodies, and even parliamentary debates and political programs, celebrating and developing further the ideas...

    Philanthropy, business and the changing roles of government
  3. Publications and Research

    The World Bank’s doublespeak on teachers – an analysis of 10 years of lending and advice

    Clara Fontdevila, Antoni Verger
    17 December 2015

    During the last few decades, the World Bank has become a central actor in shaping the global education policy agenda and is increasingly involved in education to the point of becoming the largest supplier of external funding to the sector. Its growing capacity to shape policy goes far beyond its...

    The World Bank’s doublespeak on teachers – an analysis of 10 years of lending and advice
    1. Report
    2. Summary
  4. News 16 December 2015

    Arab union leaders committed to fight privatisation of education

    The privatisation of education was the focus of two days of meetings in Beirut, Lebanon where the leaders of Education International’s Arab countries cross regional structure addressed the problem head on.

    Arab union leaders committed to fight privatisation of education
  5. News 11 December 2015

    Pedagogical Movement: new phase, new impetus

    The third meeting of the Pedagogical Movement renewed the cohesion and agenda for the future of education in Latin America, with a plan to strengthen the influence of the trade union movement on public policies.

    Pedagogical Movement: new phase, new impetus
  6. News 2 December 2015

    Spain: Education unites against privatisation

    The international campaign “against the privatisation and commercialisation of education” has reached Spain with the support of the union CCOO, which hosted a discussion forum to inform teachers about the situation in the EU and the OECD.

    Spain: Education unites against privatisation
  7. Publications and Research

    Corporatised education in the Philippines: Pearson, Ayala Corporation and the emergence of Affordable Private Education Centers (APEC)

    Curtis B. Riep
    30 November 2015

    This paper examines how, why, and with what consequences, corporate-led privatisations in Philippine education are taking shape, through an analysis of Affordable Private Education Centers (APEC).

    Corporatised education in the Philippines: Pearson, Ayala Corporation and the emergence of Affordable Private Education Centers (APEC)
    1. Download
  8. News 22 November 2015

    Philippines: corporate inroads on public education

    The latest in-depth Education International study reveals the extent to which the Philippine government has opened its doors to the rampant growth of privatised education, putting corporate interests ahead of its children and their families.

    Philippines: corporate inroads on public education
  9. News 10 November 2015

    Brace for more austerity in 2016, warns the International Labour Organisation

    A worrisome second adjustment shock and ensuing austerity measures are expected to start in 2016 and hit 132 countries, mostly in the developing world, the yearly update on austerity of the International Labour Organisation shows.

    Brace for more austerity in 2016, warns the International Labour Organisation
  10. News 22 October 2015

    UK families forced to choose between school uniforms and food

    A UK report shows that the mounting cost of school uniforms has led to the families of more than one million children to cut back on food spending and basic essentials.

    UK families forced to choose between school uniforms and food
  11. News 14 October 2015

    Germany: Education unions join in massive protest against EU-US trade deal

    An alliance of civil society organisations, including trade unions, mobilised more than 150,000 people to protest against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, making it the biggest manifestation the country has seen in decades.

    Germany: Education unions join in massive protest against EU-US trade deal
  12. News 14 October 2015

    Germany: Education unions join in massive protest against EU-US trade deal

    An alliance of civil society organisations, including trade unions, mobilised more than 150,000 people to protest against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, making it the biggest manifestation the country has seen in decades.

    Germany: Education unions join in massive protest against EU-US trade deal
  13. News 23 September 2015

    Global Labour Tax Summit: fairer taxation for quality education

    The Global Labour Tax Summit, held in Geneva, Switzerland, recently, stressed that current fiscal laxity is one of the main causes of growing inequality and chronic underfunding of public services in our societies.

    Global Labour Tax Summit: fairer taxation for quality education
  14. News 8 September 2015

    Latin America gears up anti-commercialisation strategy

    Latin American education unions have convened in Chile to build a common strategy that will tackle the increasing privatisation and commercialisation of education, in line with Education International’s latest policy priority.

    Latin America gears up anti-commercialisation strategy