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. Opinion 26 September 2019

    Right to authorship, by Yamile Socolovsky

    Yamile Socolovsky

    Education International's decision to encourage discussion of an International Treaty concerning the exceptions and limitations to copyright for educational and research activities is both timely and necessary. The obstacles imposed on these activities by the excessively restrictive regulations in this area become remarkably difficult to overcome in the current context,...

    Right to authorship, by Yamile Socolovsky
  2. Opinion 15 September 2019

    “Education on the International Day of Democracy”, by David Edwards.

    David Edwards

    The United Nations established the International Day of Democracy on the 15th of September in 2007 to promote democracy. In 2019, it is clear that democracy and all the things that go with it like human rights and rule of law need to be defended as well as promoted. Education...

    “Education on the International Day of Democracy”, by David Edwards.
  3. News 7 September 2019

    UK: Member of Parliament argues for international aid to support public education systems, not private providers

    Education International welcomes the intervention of UK Member of Parliament Dan Carden who demanded that his country’s international aid be used to support universally accessible inclusive quality public education, and not private education providers in the Global South.

    UK: Member of Parliament argues for international aid to support public education systems, not private providers
  4. News 5 September 2019

    Argentina: new video gives insights into mechanisms of privatisation and commercialisation in education

    Focusing on the key findings of a study on the privatisation of education in Argentina commissioned by Education International, the Confederación de Trabajadores de la Educación de la República Argentina has launched the video ‘Educación S.A.’ to highlight how economic interests advocating for the privatisation and commercialisation of Argentina’s public...

    Argentina: new video gives insights into mechanisms of privatisation and commercialisation in education
  5. Opinion 5 September 2019

    “Technical and Vocational Education and Training in Cote d’Ivoire: problematic privatization and a framework to be redefined”, by Eric Lavigne.

    Eric Lavigne

    The Pathways to Education and Work research group from the University of Toronto has published its report entitled “Technical and Vocational Education and Training in Cote d’Ivoire”. The study assesses, negatively, the results of privatization of education on technical and vocational education and training (TVET), calls for more public participation,...

    “Technical and Vocational Education and Training in Cote d’Ivoire: problematic privatization and a framework to be redefined”, by Eric Lavigne.
  6. News 21 August 2019

    Liberia: civil society calls on government to stop the expansion of private education

    The fight against the privatisation of education has taken a step further in Liberia. The National Teachers' Association of Liberia together with twelve civil and human right organisations and two religious organisations sent a joint letter to public authorities reminding them of their responsibility to ensure quality public education for...

    Liberia: civil society calls on government to stop the expansion of private education
  7. Opinion 13 August 2019

    “For the integrity and status of Higher Education and Technical and Vocational Education and Training”, by Fred van Leeuwen.

    Fred van Leeuwen

    Higher education is indispensable if we are to maintain a foundation of facts, knowledge and free discussion in society. TVET reaches very many young people and adults and has a key education function in addition to providing skills training. Both are under attack as many, public and private, innocently or...

    “For the integrity and status of Higher Education and Technical and Vocational Education and Training”, by Fred van Leeuwen.
  8. News 26 July 2019

    Educators’ unions in Australia and the EU call for education to be carved out of trade negotiations

    During the Education International (EI) 8th World Congress, affiliated educators’ unions in Australia and the European Union issued a statement calling for the Australian government and the European Commission to be more transparent in ongoing negotiations on the potential free trade agreement and to explicitly carve out education from the...

    Educators’ unions in Australia and the EU call for education to be carved out of trade negotiations
  9. Opinion 26 July 2019

    “Education Unions and the Struggle for Democracy”, by Hugo Yasky.

    Hugo Rubén Yasky

    “As we approach the centenary of the birth of Paulo Freire, whose teachings continue to inspire and influence our actions, the Latin American Pedagogical Movement, EILA and its national member organisations embody the collective will to defend education as a social right and a powerful means for the emancipation of...

    “Education Unions and the Struggle for Democracy”, by Hugo Yasky.
  10. News 25 July 2019

    EI celebrates education champions

    Today Education International honoured two outstanding activists during its 8th World Congress in Bangkok, Thailand. Curtis Riep received the Albert Shanker Education Award and Jalila al Salman received the Mary Hatwood Futrell Human and Trade Union Rights Award.

    EI celebrates education champions