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 9 July 2018

    Postponed European legislative debate on copyright; an opportunity to improve educational exception

    The European Parliament’s decision to submit the reform of the copyright legislation in the European Union to a full public debate in plenary in September gives civil society and education unions a chance to push for the desired open, broad and flexible EU copyright educational exception.

    Postponed European legislative debate on copyright; an opportunity to improve educational exception
  2. News 6 July 2018

    Nepal: trade unions unite around fighting privatisation and commercialisation of education

    Organised as part of Education International’s Global Response against the commercialisation and privatisation in and of Education, the Convention on Privatisation of Education and Right to Education in Nepal helped further raise awareness and disseminate international research on education privatisation in the country.

    Nepal: trade unions unite around fighting privatisation and commercialisation of education
  3. Opinion 4 July 2018

    Defending the right to education! Latin American teachers’ unions fighting against making education a business, by Gabriela Sancho

    Gabriela Sancho

    What is becoming increasingly significant in the rest of the world has long since been reality in Latin America; education as a business. To get parents to send their children to fee-paying private schools and students to attend expensive private universities, the public education system has had to be maligned...

    Defending the right to education! Latin American teachers’ unions fighting against making education a business, by Gabriela Sancho
  4. News 3 July 2018

    Global Response research, reports and papers

    The effects of commercialisation and privatisation have a serious impact on students, communities and public education systems. We use research as a guide to inform the campaign and create an accurate picture of trends, tendencies and outcomes.

    Global Response research, reports and papers
  5. Opinion 19 June 2018

    “Between hope and despair in the EU copyright reform- What's in it for education?”, by Nikola Wachter

    Nikola Wachter

    I am a teacher by training and I am concerned about the current European Union copyright reform. I am familiar with the day to day practices of preparing lessons, the search for the best picture, text snippet, piece of music or video that will help me to explain a certain...

    “Between hope and despair in the EU copyright reform- What's in it for education?”, by Nikola Wachter
  6. News 18 June 2018

    EI urges Pearson, The World Bank and DFID UK to stop supporting Bridge International

    In letters addressed to the leaders of the Pearson, The World Bank and the Department for International Development (DfID) of the United Kingdom, Education International urged the organizations to stop their sponsorship of Bridge International Academies, a for-profit school chain with operations in Africa and Asia.

    EI urges Pearson, The World Bank and DFID UK to stop supporting Bridge International
  7. News 14 June 2018

    Education issues high on the WIPO agenda

    Through statements in plenary, organising a side event, meeting with delegates and collaborating with other civil society actors, Education International has reaffirmed the importance of advancing on international copyright exceptions at the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights of the World Intellectual Property Organisation.

    Education issues high on the WIPO agenda
  8. News 28 May 2018

    Nigerian children targeted by for-profit education corporation

    Foreign edu-business corporations, such as Bridge International Academies (BIA), are targeting families in Lagos, Nigeria by setting up fee charging education facilities to expand their business model. For parents looking for a quality school for their children, is this a good option?

    Nigerian children targeted by for-profit education corporation
  9. News 25 May 2018

    High Court slams Bridge International Academies

    In a groundbreaking ruling, the High Court of Uganda has determined that Bridge International Academies (BIA), a for-profit edubusiness, deliberately set up illegal operations in the country with blatant disregard for national laws and regulations.

    High Court slams Bridge International Academies
  10. Opinion 16 May 2018

    Celebrating education’s unsung heroes, by David Edwards

    David Edwards

    In quality education systems around the world, behind student success there are invisible armies of education support personnel (ESP). These under-recognised workers are too often forgotten or ignored, but are absolutely vital for student success and wellbeing.

    Celebrating education’s unsung heroes, by David Edwards
  11. News 8 May 2018

    Educators confront Pearson for funding profit driven Bridge International Academies

    Education activists, teachers and global union leaders went to London to urge shareholders at the Pearson Annual General Meeting to stop funding Bridge International Academies, a for-profit company that makes money by shortchanging the education of thousands of at risk children.

    Educators confront Pearson for funding profit driven Bridge International Academies
  12. Opinion 8 May 2018

    #ResNet: "Wheeling and Dealing in Education and Global Trade Agreements", by Susan L. Robertson

    Susan Robertson

    As the minutes ticked down toward the final boarding call for my late evening train from London to Brussels, I was furiously typing up notes from a research report I had just read on the Trade in Services Agreement, otherwise known as TISA. The young man sitting next to me...

    #ResNet: "Wheeling and Dealing in Education and Global Trade Agreements", by Susan L. Robertson
  13. News 27 April 2018

    Five reasons Pearson (and everyone else) should stop investing in Bridge Academies right now

    Pearson Education has invested tons of money in fee-charging, for-profit schools operated by Bridge International Academies. Many Bridge schools use unqualified staff, unofficial curriculum in substandard facilities. Its fees can push families into further poverty.

    Five reasons Pearson (and everyone else) should stop investing in Bridge Academies right now
  14. News 17 April 2018

    Education International assesses World Bank's Development Report on education

    Just ahead of the World Bank Spring Meetings, Education International is launching a publication that brings together multiple voices from around the world to provide a Reality Check on the World Bank’s 2018 World Development Report on education.

    Education International assesses World Bank's Development Report on education