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 18 November 2020

    Asia-Pacific : Global Union Federations in Region Condemn RCEP Trade Agreement

    Education International and six other Global Union Federations joined together in the Asia-Pacific Region to condemn the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), signed on Sunday, 15 November 2020. The trade pact was negotiated in secrecy over more than seven years and many provisions remain unknown. The GUFs cited the danger...

    Asia-Pacific : Global Union Federations in Region Condemn RCEP Trade Agreement
  2. Opinion 16 October 2020

    “Privatisation tendencies in Dominican education: Heterarchy, network governance and new philanthropy”, by D. Brent Edwards Jr., Mauro C. Moschetti, Alejandro Caravaca.

    Alejandro Caravaca, Mauro Moschetti, D. Brent Edwards Jr.

    The privatisation of education is manifesting in increasingly complex ways. These range from the participation of private actors in the provision of education services to the incorporation of business logics in public education. To be sure, the variety of forms in which this phenomenon manifests presents challenges when it comes...

    “Privatisation tendencies in Dominican education: Heterarchy, network governance and new philanthropy”, by D. Brent Edwards Jr., Mauro C. Moschetti, Alejandro Caravaca.
  3. News 16 October 2020

    New Study Examines Privatisation of Education in the Dominican Republic

    A new study published by Education International reveals the mechanisms that favour the privatisation of education in the Dominican Republic, exploring its impact on the education system and the right to quality education.

    New Study Examines Privatisation of Education in the Dominican Republic
  4. News 15 October 2020

    Iraq: Education union demands improvements in the education sector

    On the occasion of World Teachers’ Day, 5 October, the Kurdistan Teachers’ Union (KTU) called on the government to improve educators’ working and living conditions and the quality of education at all levels.

    Iraq: Education union demands improvements in the education sector
  5. News 9 October 2020

    Global Unions call upon the World Bank and the IMF to support public investment

    The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will hold their Annual Meetings on 16-18 October. The International Financial Institutions can play a critical role in ensuring that there is a real and sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The International Trade Union Confederation and Global Union Federations, while...

    Global Unions call upon the World Bank and the IMF to support public investment
  6. Opinion 16 September 2020

    “Teachers taking the lead to effect real change: a once-in-a-generation opportunity”, by Howard Stevenson

    Howard Stevenson

    These are the most extraordinary times. At the start of 2020, almost nobody could have anticipated the extent, and the manner, in which the world has been turned upside down by a virus that has taken hundreds of thousands of lives and left nobody unaffected.

    “Teachers taking the lead to effect real change: a once-in-a-generation opportunity”, by Howard Stevenson
  7. Opinion 21 August 2020

    A question in the wilderness, by Joseph Jovellanos.

    Joseph V. Jovellanos

    A story was once told that after WWII, the then Emperor Hirohito of Japan called one of his soldiers and asked the question: “How many teachers survived?” This question is an acknowledgment by the emperor of the crucial role of teachers in building or re-building a nation. Without teachers, a...

    A question in the wilderness, by Joseph Jovellanos.
  8. News 3 August 2020

    Education International and the Global Campaign for Education condemn GEMS Metropole School's stance on education during the COVID-19 pandemic

    GEMS Metropole School threatened parents with withholding students’ report cards and transfer slips unless school fees were paid. Education International and the Global Campaign for education call on the United Arab Emirates to not tolerate extortionary manoeuvres against children in private schools.

    Education International and the Global Campaign for Education condemn GEMS Metropole School's stance on education during the COVID-19 pandemic
  9. Opinion 22 July 2020

    Catalonia: When publicly subsidized private schools go against the mandates of public education, by Mauro Moschetti & Alejandro Caravaca.

    Mauro Moschetti

    The Catalan Government has recently decided to withdraw the subsidies to all private schools in Catalonia that segregate students based on their sex (1), as they do not fulfill the principle of coeducation. These schools, most of which belong to conservative religious institutions, have been publicly subsidised for decades. However,...

    Catalonia: When publicly subsidized private schools go against the mandates of public education, by Mauro Moschetti & Alejandro Caravaca.
  10. Opinion 10 July 2020

    "The edtech pandemic shock", by Ben Williamson & Anna Hogan.

    Ben Williamson

    The Covid-19 pandemic was the context for two major disruptions in education. The first was the disruption to schooling for millions of students worldwide, and a rapid shift to remote learning online. The second, closely related disruption was the entry of the commercial education technology sector into public education at...

    "The edtech pandemic shock", by Ben Williamson & Anna Hogan.
  11. News 10 July 2020

    Edtech Pandemic Shock: New EI research launched on COVID-19 education commercialisation

    Education International has launched groundbreaking new research which maps the extent of private actors’ influence in education since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The research has been commissioned as part of Education International's Global Response to the Commercialisation and Privatisation of Education.

    Edtech Pandemic Shock: New EI research launched on COVID-19 education commercialisation
  12. Opinion 6 July 2020

    “Online teaching and videoconferencing: how can teachers choose the most appropriate tools?”, by Steven Kolber.

    Steven Kolber

    Teachers are all scrambling onto remote learning (or distance learning, or continuous learning, or crisis learning, or the nomenclature of your area) to support and stay connected with their students during this isolating time. The unexpected nature of the events around COVID-19 and the different levels and speeds of responsiveness...

    “Online teaching and videoconferencing: how can teachers choose the most appropriate tools?”, by Steven Kolber.
  13. Opinion 30 June 2020

    "Between Pandemic and Pandemonium", by Carlos Abicalil.

    Carlos Abicalil

    I write this article following the announcement that the Minister of State for Education, Abraham Weintraub, has stepped down from his position: the second such occurrence in the first year and a half of President Bolsonaro’s administration. It has been revealed that he is to take on the role of...

    "Between Pandemic and Pandemonium", by Carlos Abicalil.