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 5 October 2018

    US educators fight over student debt and loan fraud

    American Federation of Teachers’ members have filed a class-action lawsuit against the student loan servicer Navient for misleading borrowers and called for immediate action.

    US educators fight over student debt and loan fraud
  2. Opinion 3 October 2018

    “The Global Status of teachers and the Teaching Profession”, by David Edwards

    David Edwards

    World Teachers Day is an ideal moment to reflect on the status of the world’s teachers. Today, Education International will release its triennial report on this very issue. Education is at the centre of improvements to living standards and quality of life, yet we now increasingly face pressures and threats...

    “The Global Status of teachers and the Teaching Profession”, by David Edwards
  3. News 24 September 2018

    Francophone education unions, the driving force of democracy, the guardians of public education and union solidarity

    At the 16th Meeting of the Comité Syndical Francophone de l’Education et de la Formation (Francophone Trade Union Committee for Education and Training), the Education International General Secretary, David Edwards, called on all French-speaking affiliates to defend democracy, human rights and trade union rights, to fight privatisation, and to strive...

    Francophone education unions, the driving force of democracy, the guardians of public education and union solidarity
  4. News 4 September 2018

    Ghana: Unions denounce plans to give tax money to for profit education companies

    "Given the scarcity of resources, it is deplorable that the Education Outcome Fund (EOF) for Africa and Middle East intends to transfer tax-payer funds intended for the well-being of children to private investors who seek to profit from education."

    Ghana: Unions denounce plans to give tax money to for profit education companies
  5. Opinion 28 August 2018

    The Shameful Origin of School Vouchers in the US, by Jim Baker

    Jim Baker

    Vouchers are controversial elements of modern “reforms” to public education. They are supposed to give opportunities to poor people and make education fairer. They were fashionable first in the US and then spread to other nations. What is less known is that vouchers under other guises, were already an instrument...

    The Shameful Origin of School Vouchers in the US, by Jim Baker
  6. News 27 August 2018

    Australia: government urged to halt underfunding of public schools!

    The Australian Education Union has called on educators and concerned citizens to add their names to an open letter addressed to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull calling for more funding to be allocated to public schools and towards bringing special support for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

    Australia: government urged to halt underfunding of public schools!
  7. News 24 August 2018

    Statement to the G20 Education and Employment Ministers

    As the voice of the world’s educators, we welcome the inclusion of education as a priority for the G20, and hope the commitment to education will be ensured moving forward into Japan in 2019.

    Statement to the G20 Education and Employment Ministers
  8. News 27 July 2018

    Cambodia: education becomes an overarching theme of the electoral campaign

    While it is a matter for rejoicing that education has become a major subject of the debates during the current electoral campaign in Cambodia, education trade unionists have particularly underlined the financial shortcomings of the national school systems, which the public authorities have to remedy.

    Cambodia: education becomes an overarching theme of the electoral campaign
  9. News 27 July 2018

    Latin America: Public education is a social right and is essential to building equality

    Public education is a social right that must be guaranteed, maintained and financed by the government, and it is essential to building equality. This is the overarching message of the educators who gathered at the Regional Meeting of Education International Latin America (EILA) in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

    Latin America: Public education is a social right and is essential to building equality
  10. News 17 July 2018

    Educators in the EU and Japan demand education be left out of trade agreement

    On the occasion of the signature of the European Union-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, Education International firmly supports its European and Japanese members, reasserting that education must be explicitly carved out of such international trade agreements.

    Educators in the EU and Japan demand education be left out of trade agreement
  11. 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