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. 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)
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. Publications and Research

    Public education in Greece: Aspects and trends of emerging privatisation

    5 December 2019

    Commissioned and led by the Greek Primary Teachers’ Federation (DOE) and the Greek Federation of Secondary Education State School Teachers (OLME), the study is part of EI’s Global Response to the Privatisation and Commercialisation in and of Education.

    Public education in Greece: Aspects and trends of emerging privatisation
    1. Full study (in Greek)
    2. Summary (in English)
    3. Summary (in Greek)
  5. News 28 November 2019

    Greece: Report warns of emerging privatisation in public education

    Today Education International (EI) affiliates in Greece launched a study revealing the growing trend towards privatisation in public education, following years of austerity and poor funding. The report marks the beginning of a regional strategy to fight privatisation and commercialisation in education in Southern Europe.

    Greece: Report warns of emerging privatisation in public education
  6. News 22 November 2019

    Chile: educators demand an end to the violence

    During its 55th meeting in Brussels on November 19-21, the Executive Board of Education International (EI) adopted a resolution condemning the violence against peaceful protestors in Chile and demanding respect for students, teachers and civil society.

    Chile: educators demand an end to the violence
  7. Opinion 7 November 2019

    #SABERexposed “Engaging the Private Sector”, by Brendan DeCoster.

    Brendan DeCoster

    As part of the blog series critiquing the World Bank’s Systems Approach for Better Education Results (SABER) initiative, I examine some of the more problematic aspects of the Bank’s claims that 1) they are representing a consensus on engagement of the private sector and 2) that they are not pursuing...

    #SABERexposed “Engaging the Private Sector”, by Brendan DeCoster.
  8. News 7 November 2019

    Liberia: Renewed fight against increasing privatisation

    In Liberia, educators and their unions are determined to fight back against the privatisation and commercialisation of education in the face of strengthened links between the government and edu-business.

    Liberia: Renewed fight against increasing privatisation
  9. News 5 November 2019

    New report sheds light on the threat privatisation poses for higher education in Latin America

    A new study coordinated by CONADU (the National Federation of University Teachers) for Education International examines how privatisation is infringing upon higher education, the threat it poses for education systems, and the options available to unions to resist this process.

    New report sheds light on the threat privatisation poses for higher education in Latin America
  10. Opinion 30 October 2019

    “Teachers – Being in Control or Being Controlled?”, by Jim Baker.

    Jim Baker

    The status and role of professional teachers are affected by global efforts to make schools reason and operate like private companies even in some schools systems that may appear untouched by market reform fervour. A publication released last month on the profession addresses, in different contexts, the impact of that...

    “Teachers – Being in Control or Being Controlled?”, by Jim Baker.
  11. News 29 October 2019

    World Bank ombudsman to launch investigation into IFC funding of Bridge International Academies

    The World Bank’s accountability mechanism, the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO), has published a report that finds “substantial concerns” regarding the International Finance Corporation (IFC)’s investment in for-profit education provider Bridge International Academies and has announced that they will launch an investigation into the matter.

    World Bank ombudsman to launch investigation into IFC funding of Bridge International Academies
  12. Opinion 22 October 2019

    “Education International. Eighth World Congress”, by John Bangs.

    John Bangs

    The online magazine ‘Education Journal’ recently published in its edition 385 a report of Education International’s eighth World Congress in Bangkok by EI Senior Consultant, John Bangs. Education Journal has agreed to its publication for Worlds of Education. It has been slightly edited for EI’s global audience.

    “Education International. Eighth World Congress”, by John Bangs.
  13. News 18 October 2019

    Public education systems in Pacific plagued by commercial activity, new EI report finds

    “Commercial Activity in Pacific Education”, an Education International report examining the extent of privatisation and commercialisation in education in the region, was launched today at the conference of the Council of Pacific Education.

    Public education systems in Pacific plagued by commercial activity, new EI report finds
  14. Publications and Research

    Privatisation and commodification of university in Latin America: The cases of Argentina, Peru, Chile and the Dominican Republic

    Fernanda Saforcada, Daniela Atairo, Lucía Trotta, Aldana Rodríguez Golisano
    17 October 2019

    Since the late 20th century, Latin American higher education has witnessed two major processes: firstly, considerable expansion – a sustained increase in enrolment, a growing number of institutions, and growth and diversification of study programmes, levels and qualifications; secondly, a decline in public funding.

    Privatisation and commodification of university in Latin America: The cases of Argentina, Peru, Chile and the Dominican Republic
    1. Report (in Spanish)
    2. Summary (in English)
  15. Statements 17 October 2019

    Statement | EI calls on World Bank to change tack in education

    As the board of governors of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund come together for the 2019 Annual Meetings in Washington this week, Education International sends two clear messages to the World Bank:

    Statement | EI calls on World Bank to change tack in education
  16. Publications and Research

    Commercial Activity in Pacific Education

    Anna Hogan, Greg Thompson, Bob Lingard, Dr Mesake Dakuidreketi
    10 October 2019

    This study collected scoping data to document and understand the extent of privatisation and commercialisation of education in eight Council of Pacific Education (COPE) nations - the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

    Commercial Activity in Pacific Education
    1. Report
    2. Summary