Ei-iE

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teacher remote learning

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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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
  11. Opinion 31 January 2020

    Privatisation of education in Morocco - A multi-speed education system and a polarised society

    By Khadija Abdous This blog summarises some of the main findings from the recently published research report: Privatisation of Education in Morocco - A Multi-speed Education System and A Polarized Society , which outlines the current trends and manifestations of education privatisation in Morocco. It is also an opportunity to...

    Privatisation of education in Morocco - A multi-speed education system and a polarised society
  12. Publications and Research

    Privatisation of education in Morocco. A multi-speed education system and a polarised society.

    Khadija Abdous
    24 January 2020

    The study is a detailed examination of the trends and current manifestations of privatisation in education in Morocco. The report also sheds light on various public education reforms implemented in Morocco and how privatisation policies have affected these reforms.

    Privatisation of education in Morocco. A multi-speed education system and a polarised society.
    1. Report (in French)
    2. Summary (in English)
    3. Summary (in Arabic)
  13. Opinion 17 January 2020

    Educators reject the Education Outcomes Fund

    By David Edwards, General Secretary - Education International  The Education Outcomes Fund (EOF) is set to launch its first operations in just a few months' time. As the preparations ensue, Education International, the voice of over 32 million teachers and educators from across the globe, wants to make it clear...

    Educators reject the Education Outcomes Fund
  14. News 13 January 2020

    The privatisation of education under the spotlight in the Caribbean

    On January 11-12 leaders of Education International member organisations in the Caribbean came together in Bridgetown, Barbados to develop a deeper understanding of Education International’s Global Response to the privatisation and commercialisation of education and to consider the situation across their region.

    The privatisation of education under the spotlight in the Caribbean
  15. Opinion 23 December 2019

    "On life and the market", by David Edwards.

    David Edwards

    From an early age, we try to fit children into the world. Instead, perhaps, we should reflect on how the world should fit children.

    "On life and the market", by David Edwards.