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 3 August 2020

    Education International and the Global Campaign for Education condemn GEMS Metropole School's stance on education during the COVID-19 pandemic

    GEMS Metropole School threatened parents with withholding students’ report cards and transfer slips unless school fees were paid. Education International and the Global Campaign for education call on the United Arab Emirates to not tolerate extortionary manoeuvres against children in private schools.

    Education International and the Global Campaign for Education condemn GEMS Metropole School's stance on education during the COVID-19 pandemic
  2. Opinion 22 July 2020

    Catalonia: When publicly subsidized private schools go against the mandates of public education, by Mauro Moschetti & Alejandro Caravaca.

    Mauro Moschetti

    The Catalan Government has recently decided to withdraw the subsidies to all private schools in Catalonia that segregate students based on their sex (1), as they do not fulfill the principle of coeducation. These schools, most of which belong to conservative religious institutions, have been publicly subsidised for decades. However,...

    Catalonia: When publicly subsidized private schools go against the mandates of public education, by Mauro Moschetti & Alejandro Caravaca.
  3. Publications and Research

    Commercialisation and privatisation in/of education in the context of Covid-19

    Ben Williamson, Anna Hogan
    15 July 2020

    The Covid-19 emergency has affected education systems worldwide. The ‘pivot’ to ‘online learning’ and ‘emergency remote teaching’ has positioned educational technology (edtech) as an integral component of education globally, bringing private sector and commercial organisations into the centre of essential educational services.

    Commercialisation and privatisation in/of education in the context of Covid-19
    1. Report
    2. Summary
  4. Opinion 10 July 2020

    "The edtech pandemic shock", by Ben Williamson & Anna Hogan.

    Ben Williamson

    The Covid-19 pandemic was the context for two major disruptions in education. The first was the disruption to schooling for millions of students worldwide, and a rapid shift to remote learning online. The second, closely related disruption was the entry of the commercial education technology sector into public education at...

    "The edtech pandemic shock", by Ben Williamson & Anna Hogan.
  5. News 10 July 2020

    Edtech Pandemic Shock: New EI research launched on COVID-19 education commercialisation

    Education International has launched groundbreaking new research which maps the extent of private actors’ influence in education since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The research has been commissioned as part of Education International's Global Response to the Commercialisation and Privatisation of Education.

    Edtech Pandemic Shock: New EI research launched on COVID-19 education commercialisation
  6. Opinion 6 July 2020

    “Online teaching and videoconferencing: how can teachers choose the most appropriate tools?”, by Steven Kolber.

    Steven Kolber

    Teachers are all scrambling onto remote learning (or distance learning, or continuous learning, or crisis learning, or the nomenclature of your area) to support and stay connected with their students during this isolating time. The unexpected nature of the events around COVID-19 and the different levels and speeds of responsiveness...

    “Online teaching and videoconferencing: how can teachers choose the most appropriate tools?”, by Steven Kolber.
  7. Opinion 30 June 2020

    "Between Pandemic and Pandemonium", by Carlos Abicalil.

    Carlos Abicalil

    I write this article following the announcement that the Minister of State for Education, Abraham Weintraub, has stepped down from his position: the second such occurrence in the first year and a half of President Bolsonaro’s administration. It has been revealed that he is to take on the role of...

    "Between Pandemic and Pandemonium", by Carlos Abicalil.
  8. Opinion 22 June 2020

    "Repairing the infrastructure of public education amidst the breakdown", by Sam Sellar

    Sam Sellar

    While trying to make sense of the crisis caused by COVID-19, two well-worn lines keep coming to mind. The first is attributed to Lenin, who apparently claimed, when describing the Russian Revolution, that ‘there are decades when nothing happens; and there are weeks when decades happens’.

    "Repairing the infrastructure of public education amidst the breakdown", by Sam Sellar
  9. News 11 June 2020

    Uruguay: Public education under threat

    The new conservative government of Uruguay, that took office last March, has submitted a bill for urgent consideration (Ley de Urgente Consideración, or LUC) to Parliament that set off alarm bells amongst Uruguayan society for being deeply antidemocratic in form and substance. The urgent bill shows how the country is...

    Uruguay: Public education under threat
  10. Opinion 9 June 2020

    "The Onslaught of Privatisation on Uruguayan Education", by Pablo Martinis

    Pablo Martinis

    Uruguay's recently instated centre-right government is seeking to expedite parliamentary consideration of a series of pro-market reforms. The public, democratising legacy of Uruguayan education is under threat. The following information describes proposed reforms and proposes an approach to addressing these developments.

    "The Onslaught of Privatisation on Uruguayan Education", by Pablo Martinis
  11. News 5 June 2020

    Post-pandemic economic recovery requires radical rethink and global solidarity, say union bodies

    Many economists predict that the COVID-19 pandemic will produce the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Policies and the details of their implementation will not only determine if economic recovery is successful, but if that recovery accelerates or slows the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals...

    Post-pandemic economic recovery requires radical rethink and global solidarity, say union bodies
  12. News 13 May 2020

    Morocco: Education unions successful in stopping support to private schools during the COVID-19 crisis

    In a significant development in Morocco, education unions have succeeded in stopping government support for private schools during the COVID-19 public health crisis. They went one step further and were able, through strategic alliances with members of the national parliament, to prosecute those who have fraudulently exploited the crisis.

    Morocco: Education unions successful in stopping support to private schools during the COVID-19 crisis
  13. Opinion 5 May 2020

    “The impact of COVID-19 on society in the Asia-Pacific region”, by Masaki Okajima.

    Masaki Okajima

    COVID-19 is spreading worldwide, impacting children, educators, parents and, most seriously, vulnerable people. The pandemic has affected over 1.5 billion learners in 192 countries in the world. School closures affect over 91% of the world’s enrolled student population and teaching personnel. Most countries in Asia-Pacific have been taking measures to...

    “The impact of COVID-19 on society in the Asia-Pacific region”, by Masaki Okajima.
  14. Opinion 9 April 2020

    "World Bank shifts position on funding for most private-for-profit schools", by David Edwards.

    David Edwards

    In a sudden and far-reaching policy shift, World Bank President David Malpass has agreed to major reforms that include officially freezing any direct or indirect investments in private for-profit pre-primary, primary and secondary schools. This has been a critical issue for Education International for many years and has been the...

    "World Bank shifts position on funding for most private-for-profit schools", by David Edwards.
  15. News 6 February 2020

    Arab educators tackle diverse challenges to education and teachers in their region

    At a recent meeting, the Committee of the Education International’s Arab Countries Cross Regional Structure reaffirmed their commitment to fight education privatisation and defend democracy in the region. Committee members reported on the challenges faced in their national settings, discussed recent union activities, and strategised for future action and campaigns.

    Arab educators tackle diverse challenges to education and teachers in their region