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 11 February 2019

    Africa: teachers call on politicians to reject privatisation

    Education International’s African leaders have released a statement today calling on their Heads of States to reject privatisation and to invest in quality public education for all.

    Africa: teachers call on politicians to reject privatisation
  2. News 7 February 2019

    Research exposes private education provider in Africa

    "What do we really know about Bridge International Academies?" is a ground-breaking study that shines light on the operations and business practices of one of the most active for-profit education providers in Africa.

    Research exposes private education provider in Africa
  3. Opinion 17 December 2018

    #EI25: “Trade unionism, the teaching profession, and democracy”, interview of EI General Secretary Emeritus Fred van Leeuwen

    Fred van Leeuwen

    2018 is the 25th anniversary of the creation of Education International. As this anniversary year draws to a close, we are publishing an interview of Fred van Leeuwen who served the organization as General Secretary of EI for its first quarter century. This discussion offers a reflection on the substantial...

    #EI25: “Trade unionism, the teaching profession, and democracy”, interview of EI General Secretary Emeritus Fred van Leeuwen
  4. News 13 December 2018

    Philippines: union leaders united around gender equality and improving campaign capacities

    The annual evaluation and planning meeting of the Philippines’s women’s network bringing together Education International’s affiliates in this country has taken stock of gender and diversity issues and reinforced the education unions’ capacities and advocacy skills.

    Philippines: union leaders united around gender equality and improving campaign capacities
  5. News 16 November 2018

    EU Parliament: aid must not be used to support privatisation

    In a welcomed decision, on 13 November, the European Parliament resolved that “the European Union and the Member States, in accordance with SDG 4.1 and Article 26 of the UDHR, must not use ODA [overseas development assistance] to support private, commercial educational establishments.”

    EU Parliament: aid must not be used to support privatisation
  6. News 13 November 2018

    Elsevier: putting a price on knowledge

    In its most recent publication, Education International examines the publishing giant Elsevier, whose success on the market is based on ethically questionable practices which endanger the transmission of knowledge and its condition as a public good.

    Elsevier: putting a price on knowledge
  7. News 12 November 2018

    EI 11th Further and Higher Education and Research Conference: Advancing conditions for staff to improve quality education

    The first day of the 11th Education International’s Further and Higher Education and Research Conference has provided member organisations with a forum for exchanging information and strategies across regions for the advancement of quality terms and conditions of employment for teachers, academics and researchers, and addressed technical and vocational education...

    EI 11th Further and Higher Education and Research Conference: Advancing conditions for staff to improve quality education
  8. Opinion 12 November 2018

    TVET, capabilities and social justice, by Leesa Wheelahan

    Leesa Wheelahan

    What is technical and vocational education and training (TVET) and what does it do? This can be a hard question to answer because there isn’t a lot of agreement about what it does, what it should do, who should pay for it, how it should be offered, and whether it...

    TVET, capabilities and social justice, by Leesa Wheelahan
  9. Publications and Research 15 October 2018

    La privatización educativa en Argentina

    by Myriam Feldfeber, Adriana Puiggrós, Susan Robertson and Miguel Duhalde

    La privatización educativa en Argentina
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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