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 18 June 2007

    Antigua and Barbuda raises stakes in US gambling case

    The Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda is threatening to escalate its fight against US restrictions on cross-border Internet gambling by encouraging other countries to make WTO compensation claims for Washington's decision to modify its WTO services commitments.

    Antigua and Barbuda raises stakes in US gambling case
  2. News 18 June 2007

    USA: White House, Democrats reach deal on FTAs

    The Bush administration and senior Democratic lawmakers have agreed to a deal to include environmental and labour protections in any new bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) the country signs.

    USA: White House, Democrats reach deal on FTAs
  3. News 18 June 2007

    Brazil issues generic license for AIDS drug

    In the latest test of the WTO’s rules on intellectual property rights, Brazil has issued a compulsory license for the patented AIDS drug efavirenz that will allow companies to import and eventually manufacture generic versions of the drug more cheaply.

    Brazil issues generic license for AIDS drug
  4. News 24 April 2007

    Little progress reported in WTO talks

    Despite a flurry of high level meetings over the past weeks, senior trade officials with the World Trade Organization admit that members are still far from achieving a breakthrough in the Doha Round of trade talks.

    Little progress reported in WTO talks
  5. News 24 April 2007

    Update on GATS talks

    With little progress being made in agricultural negotiations, talks aimed at reaching a WTO deal on the trade in services under the GATS also remain stalled according to trade officials in Geneva.

    Update on GATS talks
  6. News 24 April 2007

    Domestic regulation rules: The debate continues

    Trade officials expressed differing views on the draft text on domestic regulation released in February. The negotiations are focused on developing new GATS restrictions that would require that government measures adopted with respect to qualification requirements and procedures, licensing requirements and procedures, and technical standards be relevant, objective and "no...

    Domestic regulation rules: The debate continues
  7. News 24 April 2007

    ASEAN members press for emergency safeguards in GATS

    Eight member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have renewed their efforts to press for new WTO rules allowing countries to restrict access to their services markets in emergency situations when domestic firms are threatened by foreign competition.

    ASEAN members press for emergency safeguards in GATS
  8. News 24 April 2007

    US Democrats unveil trade strategy

    Congressional Democratic leaders unveiled a set of policy principles that they want incorporated into several pending free trade agreements (FTAs), as well as the country's broader trade agenda.

    US Democrats unveil trade strategy
  9. News 24 April 2007

    USA: college groups issue GATS warning

    Two dozen groups representing American colleges are urging the United States and other member countries of the WTO not to make GATS concessions that would threaten higher education institutions.

    USA: college groups issue GATS warning
  10. News 29 March 2007

    Chairperson of the German Committee on Education says Education is a Public Good, not a Commodity

    "Education is a public good, not a commodity," said Ulla Burchardt, Chairperson of the Committee on Education, Research and Technology Assessment of the German Bundestag, at a meeting organised by the Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissenschaft (GEW), one of EI’s German member organisations.

    Chairperson of the German Committee on Education says Education is a Public Good, not a Commodity
  11. News 28 February 2007

    Doha Talks re-launched

    After being put on hold for nearly six months, controversial talks aimed at creating new trade rules for the global economy have been formally re-launched.

    Doha Talks re-launched
  12. News 28 February 2007

    Differences persist on domestic regulation

    Before the suspension of GATS talks, members were divided over proposals aimed at developing new restrictions on domestic regulation. This refers to measures adopted with respect to qualification requirements and procedures, licensing procedures and requirements, and technical standards. Some countries were pressing to include a “necessity test” in the new...

    Differences persist on domestic regulation
  13. News 28 February 2007

    Vietnam joins WTO

    Vietnam became the 150th member of the WTO on January 11, after ratifying its membership agreement.

    Vietnam joins WTO
  14. News 28 February 2007

    ASEAN countries sign services deal with China

    The ten member nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) ended their annual summit on 15 January by unveiling a new free trade agreement in services with China.

    ASEAN countries sign services deal with China
  15. News 28 February 2007

    U.S has failed to comply in gambling case: WTO panel

    A WTO panel has found that the United States has failed to comply with a controversial ruling against American restrictions on Internet gambling.

    U.S has failed to comply in gambling case: WTO panel
  16. News 28 February 2007

    EU pushes bilateral trade agreements

    The European Union wants to negotiate free trade agreements with India, Korea, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), an EU official announced in January.

    EU pushes bilateral trade agreements
  17. News 28 February 2007

    Indian students collect five million signatures

    Five million signatures collected by the Students' Federation of India (SFI) from across the country demanding the protection of public education were submitted to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on January 22, 2007.

    Indian students collect five million signatures