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. Opinion 2020-06-09

    "The Onslaught of Privatisation on Uruguayan Education", by Pablo Martinis

    Pablo Martinis

    Uruguay's recently instated centre-right government is seeking to expedite parliamentary consideration of a series of pro-market reforms. The public, democratising legacy of Uruguayan education is under threat. The following information describes proposed reforms and proposes an approach to addressing these developments.

    "The Onslaught of Privatisation on Uruguayan Education", by Pablo Martinis
  2. News 2020-06-05

    Post-pandemic economic recovery requires radical rethink and global solidarity, say union bodies

    Many economists predict that the COVID-19 pandemic will produce the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Policies and the details of their implementation will not only determine if economic recovery is successful, but if that recovery accelerates or slows the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals...

    Post-pandemic economic recovery requires radical rethink and global solidarity, say union bodies
  3. News 2020-05-13

    Morocco: Education unions successful in stopping support to private schools during the COVID-19 crisis

    In a significant development in Morocco, education unions have succeeded in stopping government support for private schools during the COVID-19 public health crisis. They went one step further and were able, through strategic alliances with members of the national parliament, to prosecute those who have fraudulently exploited the crisis.

    Morocco: Education unions successful in stopping support to private schools during the COVID-19 crisis
  4. Opinion 2020-05-05

    “The impact of COVID-19 on society in the Asia-Pacific region”, by Masaki Okajima.

    Masaki Okajima

    COVID-19 is spreading worldwide, impacting children, educators, parents and, most seriously, vulnerable people. The pandemic has affected over 1.5 billion learners in 192 countries in the world. School closures affect over 91% of the world’s enrolled student population and teaching personnel. Most countries in Asia-Pacific have been taking measures to...

    “The impact of COVID-19 on society in the Asia-Pacific region”, by Masaki Okajima.
  5. Opinion 2020-04-09

    "World Bank shifts position on funding for most private-for-profit schools", by David Edwards.

    David Edwards

    In a sudden and far-reaching policy shift, World Bank President David Malpass has agreed to major reforms that include officially freezing any direct or indirect investments in private for-profit pre-primary, primary and secondary schools. This has been a critical issue for Education International for many years and has been the...

    "World Bank shifts position on funding for most private-for-profit schools", by David Edwards.
  6. News 2020-02-06

    Arab educators tackle diverse challenges to education and teachers in their region

    At a recent meeting, the Committee of the Education International’s Arab Countries Cross Regional Structure reaffirmed their commitment to fight education privatisation and defend democracy in the region. Committee members reported on the challenges faced in their national settings, discussed recent union activities, and strategised for future action and campaigns.

    Arab educators tackle diverse challenges to education and teachers in their region
  7. News 2020-01-13

    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
  8. Opinion 2019-12-23

    "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.
  9. Publications and Research 2019-12-20

    Public education in Greece

    Aspects and Trends of Emerging Privatization

    Public education in Greece
  10. News 2019-11-28

    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