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 June 2014

    International Trade Partnership threatens public education

    The European and US member organisations of Education International have joined their voices to those of the AFL-CIO and the European Trade Union Confederation, who have raised concerns about the scope and effects of the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which is under negotiation currently between representatives of...

    International Trade Partnership threatens public education
  2. News 15 May 2014

    The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)

    The controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a comprehensive trade agreement currently being negotiated between the European Union and the United States. During his visit to Brussels on 26 March 2014 for the EU-US Summit, U.S. President Barack Obama tried to reassure critics that the trade agreement will...

    The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)
  3. News 14 May 2014

    The way forward

    The ETUCE Committee adopted the ETUCE Statement on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership on 15 April 2014. The statement demands that education is entirely excluded from the TTIP negotiations. It is central to get this message broadly across the EU. ETUCE has therefore asked all member organisations in the...

    The way forward
  4. News 14 May 2014

    The main issues at stake regarding the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)

    The TTIP is unprecedented because of its very broad scope. The negotiators intend to cover areas that have traditionally been beyond the purview of trade treaties. Consequently, there are a number of issues of general concern such as the secrecy of the TTIP negotiations, the assumptions of growth and jobs,...

    The main issues at stake regarding the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)
  5. News 14 May 2014

    Existing problems with propriety and for-profit schools and colleges

    The existing problems with proprietary and for-profit school and colleges in the US give a clear indication of the kind of problems that can be anticipated. A number of reports have investigated the problems with these institutions.

    Existing problems with propriety and for-profit schools and colleges
  6. News 14 May 2014

    Education and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)

    During the fourth round of negotiations it became evident that education is being targeted in the trade deal. The US chief negotiator, Dan Mullaney, said the US is aiming to expand access of US for-profit companies to all European service sectors including higher, adult and other education services. At the...

    Education and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)
  7. News 6 May 2014

    New ETUCE Webpage on TTIP

    ETUCE launched a new webpage where you can find information on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. What is the TTIP?, What does it cover?, Will Education be covered? Find all the answers to these questions here.

    New ETUCE Webpage on TTIP
  8. News 14 March 2014

    European teachers and students raise concerns with US-EU trade partnership

    Organisations representing teachers and students from across Europe are expressing concern about the potential impact of a proposed EU-US free trade deal. Negotiators from the European Union and the United States met in Brussels this week to continue controversial talks on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The goal...

    European teachers and students raise concerns with US-EU trade partnership
  9. News 25 February 2014

    TTIP entering "heart of negotiations"

    On 17-18 February, EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht and United States Trade Representative Ambassador Michael Froman met for a political stocktaking exercise in Washington, D.C. on the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

    TTIP entering "heart of negotiations"
  10. News 10 December 2013

    EI: Education is not a tradable commodity

    EI has joined the international trade union movement in criticizing a new agreement on global trade rules that is unbalanced and threatens to put new pressures on public services like health care and education.

    EI: Education is not a tradable commodity
  11. News 21 August 2013

    TISA, a threat to free quality public education

    EI has sent out a briefing note on the Trade in International Services Agreement (TISA) to its affiliates, informing them about these trade negotiations that threaten to liberalise public services like healthcare and education.

    TISA, a threat to free quality public education
  12. News 5 July 2013

    Negotiations begin on new services deal

    Trade talks aimed at developing a new global services pact have begun following an agreement on a negotiating framework earlier this year.

    Negotiations begin on new services deal
  13. News 5 July 2013

    Brazilian ambassador to take WTO helm

    Members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) have formally appointed Brazil’s Roberto Carvalho de Azevêdo as the group’s next director general, capping a six-month leadership contest.

    Brazilian ambassador to take WTO helm
  14. News 5 July 2013

    EU ministers seek cultural protections in talks with U.S.

    A group of 14 cultural ministers of the European Union are demanding that audio-visual services be excluded as a “cultural exemption” from planned free trade talks with the United States.

    EU ministers seek cultural protections in talks with U.S.
  15. News 18 February 2013

    Canada: Teachers’ guide to copyright released

    The Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF), one of EI’s national affiliates, has released the third edition of ‘Copyright Matters! Some Key Questions and Answers for Teachers’. The publication takes into account key changes that have occurred in the area of copyright since the previous edition, published in 2005.

    Canada: Teachers’ guide to copyright released