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 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
  2. 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
  3. 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!
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. News 6 July 2018

    Nepal: trade unions unite around fighting privatisation and commercialisation of education

    Organised as part of Education International’s Global Response against the commercialisation and privatisation in and of Education, the Convention on Privatisation of Education and Right to Education in Nepal helped further raise awareness and disseminate international research on education privatisation in the country.

    Nepal: trade unions unite around fighting privatisation and commercialisation of education
  10. Opinion 4 July 2018

    Defending the right to education! Latin American teachers’ unions fighting against making education a business, by Gabriela Sancho

    Gabriela Sancho

    What is becoming increasingly significant in the rest of the world has long since been reality in Latin America; education as a business. To get parents to send their children to fee-paying private schools and students to attend expensive private universities, the public education system has had to be maligned...

    Defending the right to education! Latin American teachers’ unions fighting against making education a business, by Gabriela Sancho
  11. News 3 July 2018

    Global Response research, reports and papers

    The effects of commercialisation and privatisation have a serious impact on students, communities and public education systems. We use research as a guide to inform the campaign and create an accurate picture of trends, tendencies and outcomes.

    Global Response research, reports and papers
  12. Opinion 19 June 2018

    “Between hope and despair in the EU copyright reform- What's in it for education?”, by Nikola Wachter

    Nikola Wachter

    I am a teacher by training and I am concerned about the current European Union copyright reform. I am familiar with the day to day practices of preparing lessons, the search for the best picture, text snippet, piece of music or video that will help me to explain a certain...

    “Between hope and despair in the EU copyright reform- What's in it for education?”, by Nikola Wachter
  13. News 18 June 2018

    EI urges Pearson, The World Bank and DFID UK to stop supporting Bridge International

    In letters addressed to the leaders of the Pearson, The World Bank and the Department for International Development (DfID) of the United Kingdom, Education International urged the organizations to stop their sponsorship of Bridge International Academies, a for-profit school chain with operations in Africa and Asia.

    EI urges Pearson, The World Bank and DFID UK to stop supporting Bridge International