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 29 June 2017

    Ivory Coast: Weary of privatisation, educators launch inquiry

    The expansion of private for-profit education in the West African country has caught the attention of education unions, leading to research and demands addressed at the government.

    Ivory Coast: Weary of privatisation, educators launch inquiry
  2. News 27 June 2017

    UN resolution lets governments off the hook

    In many ways, the United Nations’ new resolution on the right to education is a positive step forward but unfortunately opts for the development of regulations for private providers instead of urging governments to uphold their responsibilities.

    UN resolution lets governments off the hook
  3. 26 June 2017

    Education and Training Policy in the European Semester - Public Investment, Public Policy, Social Dialogue and Privatisation Patterns across Europe

    The European Union has answered to the economic and financial crisis, adopting the Europe 2020 Strategy plan for sustainable, smart economic growth. Education, employment, fighting poverty and social exclusion are at the hearth of the Europe 2020 Strategy and the EU-policy making, coordinated through the European Semester coordination. Since the...

    Education and Training Policy in the European Semester - Public Investment, Public Policy, Social Dialogue and Privatisation Patterns across Europe
  4. News 14 June 2017

    Education unionist elected onto ILO’s governing body

    Amanda Brown, the Assistant General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, has been elected onto the Governing Body of the International Labour Organisation as part of the workers’ group.

    Education unionist elected onto ILO’s governing body
  5. Opinion 5 June 2017

    The CETA’s “Investment Court System”: A Supreme Tribunal to Protect the Wealth of Foreign Nationals

    Gus Van Harten

    Imagine if governments proposed a supreme tribunal for the world. The tribunal would have the power to review anything countries can do in their sovereign role. It could review countries’ laws and regulations at any level. It could review the judgments of their highest courts.

    The CETA’s “Investment Court System”: A Supreme Tribunal to Protect the Wealth of Foreign Nationals
  6. 31 May 2017

    We the Educators: Educational Technology and the Personalisation, Standardisation, Privatisation and Datafication of Education

    The objective of this literature review was exploratory in nature, and because of the depth of the literature (both academic and non-academic) available on standardisation, personalisation and privatisation, this review focuses primarily on scholarly articles and books published in the past decade.

    We the Educators: Educational Technology and the Personalisation, Standardisation, Privatisation and Datafication of Education
  7. News 22 May 2017

    EI research reinforces advocacy against growing privatisation of public education

    In the framework of its Global Response to the privatisation of education, Education International has published documents exploring privatisation and its impact on access to education, quality education, and teachers’ conditions of employment.

    EI research reinforces advocacy against growing privatisation of public education
  8. Opinion 5 May 2017

    Big Data or Small Data: What’s the key to unlocking learning opportunities?

    Pasi Sahlberg

    Some say that schools don’t change. Many things may have remained the same but one thing is new: data. Today the walls of principals’ offices display performance results and data walls in teachers’ lounges highlight whether students have accomplished their learning targets. Data has become hot currency in school reforms.

    Big Data or Small Data: What’s the key to unlocking learning opportunities?
  9. News 3 May 2017

    Putting teachers at the heart of education systems the focus in Rotterdam

    The message on day one of the Unite for Quality Education and Leadership Conference was clear, with educators looking at making sure that teachers themselves are the architects of the profession and of education systems.

    Putting teachers at the heart of education systems the focus in Rotterdam
  10. News 2 May 2017

    Education communicators come together in The Netherlands

    Held on the eve of the Unite for Quality Education and Leadership Conference in Rotterdam, communication leaders from EI affiliates gathered to exchange ideas and share updates on campaigns and initiatives underway around the world.

    Education communicators come together in The Netherlands
  11. News 1 May 2017

    This May Day, why not try solidarity?

    As the occasion to celebrate and reaffirm the value and values of trade unions, from which their principles continue to inspire, today must also serve as a lens to carefully examine our societies and institutions.

    This May Day, why not try solidarity?
  12. News 21 April 2017

    Unions ask World Bank to turn its back to edubusinesses

    Trade unions from all over the world are protesting against the support the World Bank is offering to for-profit education providers like Bridge International Academies.

    Unions ask World Bank to turn its back to edubusinesses