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 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
  2. News 10 February 2015

    Opinion: Chile 2015 – Everything changes

    In this opinion piece, Guillermo Scherping, a member of the Colegio de Profesores de Chile, sets out the events that led to the radical change of direction in Chile’s education policies.

    Opinion: Chile 2015 – Everything changes
  3. News 30 January 2015

    UK: Private schools not improving education quality - report

    Academies and free schools in the UK are not improving education in themselves, according to a report from the cross-party parliamentary Education Select Committee, whose findings have prompted a strong reaction from teacher unions.

    UK: Private schools not improving education quality - report
  4. News 23 January 2015

    The Macedonian Ministry of Education has replaced social dialogue with threats and oppression

    On Monday 26 January 2015, ETUCE European Director Martin Rømer will travel to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to help seeking for a solution in the current severe labour conflict in the education sector. For many months, the social dialogue about several pending and urgent labour issues has been...

    The Macedonian Ministry of Education has replaced social dialogue with threats and oppression
  5. News 15 January 2015

    European unions: education is a public good, not a commodity

    Keeping public services, including education, out of potential trade pacts is priority number one of unions from across Europe as they meet in Vienna to challenge the liberalisation agenda.

    European unions: education is a public good, not a commodity
  6. News 5 December 2014

    UK: Fraud at private alternative higher education colleges

    Students attending alternative higher education providers have claimed public financial support they were not entitled to, with many not even being properly registered to study, says report.

    UK: Fraud at private alternative higher education colleges
  7. News 28 November 2014

    Civil society condemns emphasis on privatisation in MDGs Africa Progress Report

    In a joint statement released today in Marrakech at the Education Forum of the World Human Rights Forum, more than 30 African and international civil society organisations have raised serious concerns about the emphasis on private sector involvement in education in Africa in a recent report.

    Civil society condemns emphasis on privatisation in MDGs Africa Progress Report
  8. Publications and Research

    Privatisation in Chile - Report to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

    11 November 2014

    The report was submitted by several civil society organisations to the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights ahead of its pre-session during the first week of December, following which it will decide on a "list of issues", including questions which the Chilean authorities will have to respond...

    Privatisation in Chile - Report to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
    1. Download
  9. News 29 October 2014

    ETUCE response to the European Ombudsman’s public consultation on transparency of TTIP negotiations

    The European Ombudsman runs a public consultation on transparency of the TTIP negotiations until 31 October. ETUCE has continuously requested the European Commission to improve transparency in relation to the TTIP negotiations and to involve stakeholders in an active and meaningful way.

    ETUCE response to the European Ombudsman’s public consultation on transparency of TTIP negotiations
  10. News 17 October 2014

    Positioning School Leadership in the Agenda for School Reforms

    Members of the European Policy Network on School Leadership (EPNoSL) network met in Nice on 25 -26 September 2014 to discuss the implementation of priorities for the development of school leadership to validate reflection tools for school leadership policy design and to share good practices.

    Positioning School Leadership in the Agenda for School Reforms
  11. News 17 October 2014

    Education and other public services - an increasingly controversial issue in TTIP

    The 7th round of the TTIP negotiations between the EU and the US closed on 3 October 2014. During the joint press conference both the US and the EU chief negotiators , addressed specifically the issue of public services and claimed that public services would not be affected by TTIP....

    Education and other public services - an increasingly controversial issue in TTIP
  12. Publications and Research

    Privatisation in early childhood education - An explorative study on impacts and implications

    Mathias Urban
    16 October 2014

    This explorative study reveals a global trend towards increasing privatisation in Early Childhood Education (ECE), threatening to overshadow public ECE. Based on a qualitative inquiry targeting ECE practitioners and union representatives in 14 countries, it gathers practice-based evidence of the impact of privatisation in ECE on a variety of aspects...

    Privatisation in early childhood education - An explorative study on impacts and implications
    1. Download
  13. News 30 September 2014

    European Ombudsman opens public consultation on TTIP transparency

    The public consultation on transparency of the TTIP negotiations by the European Ombudsman runs until 31 October 2014. Submissions can be made in any of the 24 official EU languages and can be provided by email, letter or fax.

    European Ombudsman opens public consultation on TTIP transparency
  14. News 11 August 2014

    UK: At free schools, there’s no such thing as a free lunch

    A new study says that the Government’s free school programme implemented in disadvantaged areas is failing the poorest children it was created to serve in order to avoid paying for lunches.

    UK: At free schools, there’s no such thing as a free lunch
  15. News 1 July 2014

    Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) is a threat to quality education

    Last week, Wikileaks released the secret draft text of the TiSA annex on financial services that has highlighted concerns about how the deal will be used to deregulate the financial sector at a time when stricter rules are needed to avoid a repeat of the recent crisis. Read ETUCE's Press...

    Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) is a threat to quality education