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 24 July 2015

    Congress gears up anti-commercialisation strategy

    The resolution on privatisation in and of education received unanimous support at Education International’s world congress, giving way to a new policy strategy that aims at coordinating global and national responses.

    Congress gears up anti-commercialisation strategy
  2. News 23 July 2015

    Campaign against privatisation receives widespread support of Congress

    Education International’s campaign against the increasing privatisation in education received fulsome and passionate support from delegates at its 7th World Congress in Ottawa today (22 July).

    Campaign against privatisation receives widespread support of Congress
  3. News 3 July 2015

    Blog: bringing the big business of education into perspective

    Following up on their in-depth study on the commercialisation of education, Stephen J Ball and Carolina Junemann share their thoughts on how business and education policy converge to influence what it means to be educated.

    Blog: bringing the big business of education into perspective
  4. News 2 July 2015

    UN resolution urges States to monitor and regulate private education providers

    In what is being hailed as a landmark resolution, the United Nations Human Rights Council has urged States to regulate and monitor private education providers as well as recognise the threat of commercialised education.

    UN resolution urges States to monitor and regulate private education providers
  5. News 18 June 2015

    European Parliament divided over TTIP

    The clash between the two main constituencies has led the Parliament to postpone the voting, which in turn allows civil society more time to lobby for the protection of public services.

    European Parliament divided over TTIP
  6. Publications and Research

    Pearson and PALF: The mutating giant

    Dr. Carolina Junemann, Stephen Ball
    10 June 2015

    In their latest work, renowned researchers Carolina Junemann and Stephen J. Ball present a compelling read for anyone concerned about the right of every child to a free quality public education. They reveal that there is an ever-growing concern associated with the continual rise of the commercialisation and privatisation in...

    Pearson and PALF: The mutating giant
    1. Download
  7. News 19 May 2015

    Teacher union members fight to protect quality education from free trade

    The Independent Education Union of Australia, an affiliate of Education International, is lobbying the country’s government to reject the inclusion of educational services into the controversial Trade in Services Agreement.

    Teacher union members fight to protect quality education from free trade
  8. News 6 May 2015

    Education unions line up to oppose free trade agreement

    Education International affiliates around the world are applying a full-court press against plans to negotiate public services into the free trade agreement TiSA, sending a clear message to their governments that education is not for sale.

    Education unions line up to oppose free trade agreement
  9. News 5 May 2015

    EI: Education is not a commodity

    Reports that the governments of Australia, Colombia, New Zealand and Norway are proposing the inclusion of education within the scope of the TiSA are of grave concern.

    EI: Education is not a commodity
  10. News 28 April 2015

    UK: Teachers’ decisive action against ‘for profit’ drive in education

    “#TellPearson no to ‘for profit’ schools because #ChildrenDeserve good public education @pearson.”This was one of the rallying slogans of education trade union leaders and parents in their action opposing education privatisation in London, UK.

    UK: Teachers’ decisive action against ‘for profit’ drive in education
  11. News 24 March 2015

    Pearson caught spying on students

    The American Federation of Teachers was aghast to discover that the world’s largest edu-business has undertaken a new activity, moving from administering tests to online surveillance to monitor American students’ social media activity in search of cheaters.

    Pearson caught spying on students
  12. News 19 March 2015

    Stakes are high for education in trade agreements

    With the fate of education currently being negotiated in global free-trade talks, Martin Rømer, Director of the European Trade Union Committee for Education, spoke with RadioLabour about the possible consequences.

    Stakes are high for education in trade agreements
  13. News 6 March 2015

    Lifting the veil of secrecy blanketing education in free trade talks

    Calling for full transparency, the European Parliament’s rapporteur on the Trade in Services Agreement negotiations has made it clear that public services, including education, are not for sale and must be taken off the table.

    Lifting the veil of secrecy blanketing education in free trade talks